Russia resumes international flights to Maldives

Velana International Airport, MACL. Photo via Landing Flight

Malé, Maldives —  The government of Russia announces on Thursday, that they have decided to resume international flights to Maldives.

Regarding this matter, Russia’s Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin has signed a directive that approves two weekly flights to Velana International Airport (VIA) of Maldives and regular transfers to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as well, according to several Russian media outlets.

Since the government of Maldives decided to reopen it’s borders to international passengers on July 15, Russia has managed to consistently rank on the top ten list of countries which accounts for the highest number of tourist arrivals to Maldives.

According to Maldives Immigration, there have been 423 Russian tourist arrivals in the country during only August. This represents the fifth highest of tourist arrivals in Maldives. Russia managed to rank eighth in July with 58 Russian holidaymakers travelling to Maldives.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, although the restriction have been lifted and boarders have been opened,  Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to the figures before Covid-19. According to reports, the arrivals for July 2020 has represented just  1.3 percent of those recorded in 2019.

Since the reopening of boarders, a total of  only 9,329 tourist have arrived in Maldives up to date. Despite this, the Minister of Tourism, Dr Abdulla Mausoom states that the government expects an additional 100,000 tourist arrivals before year end.

Although the Maldivian boarders were opened with extreme lenient guidelines, in order to strengthen safety measures, the government has recently announced that the tourists arriving in Maldives will be mandated to present a negative PCR certificate upon arrival starting from September 10 onwards.

Currently, all tourists are allowed to enter Maldives without having to get quarantined or having to present a negative PCR certificate as well. They will only be tested for the virus before their departure from Maldives.

Maldives has estimated an overall shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency and a state deficit of MVR 13 billion in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the tourism industry of Maldives.