15 guesthouses reopened in Male’ region

Guesthouse in Maldives | photo: PSM

Male’, Maldives –  After being closed for months due to Covid-19, Guesthouses in the greater Male’ region have been allowed to resume services today.

15 guesthouses have opened today after Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom revealed last week that the guesthouses and hotels in Male’ area would be given the permission to start operating and open up their services starting from December 14.

Pre-pandemic statistics reveal that the greater Male’ region has 82 registered guesthouses, with a total of 2,342 tourist beds.

Speaking on the matter, Senior Executive Director at the Ministry of Tourism, Ali Razzan has said that the guesthouses in the atolls in the Male’ region can only serve either locals or tourists at a time.

The Ministry of Tourism started giving permission for guesthouses outside the greater Male’ region to reopen since mid October, but has denied tourism activity in Male’ until now as health authorities have advised against it.

The Health Protection Agency has strict guidelines for islands with operating guesthouses, and only allow for such facilities to open if local councils guarantee that the island can follow these guidelines. These include establishing flu clinics, isolation facilities, enforcing a mandatory mask rule and discouraging travel to other islands.

In addition to this, posters indicating safety guidelines such as social distancing are also to be placed around the guesthouse and a certain amount of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must also be available at the premises. Staff are also required to have a special uniform for work and should be able to take a shower before returning home. The Tourism Ministry has also mandated it for locals of islands with operating guesthouses to wear masks in public.

While the island nation does not require tourists to go through quarantine or testing on arrival, all tourists are required to complete an online health declaration form given by the country and to also provide a negative PCR test result along with it. The PCR test must be taken at least 96 hours prior to departure.

The Tourism Ministry has given approval to more than 130 guesthouses since October, with many resorts resuming activities as well. Tourism numbers have greatly improved in the last few months, with statistics revealing that Maldives has welcomed more than 100,000 tourists since July.