Male’, Maldives – Maldives has welcomed the 500,000th tourist arrival for the year 2020 today at Velana International Airport (VIA).
Maldives defeated odds and welcomed the German couple who helped the country mark the milestone despite the tourism industry of the country having have been drastically affected by the pandemic which forced the country to shut its borders for a period of three months.
Although the initial forecast to reach the 500,000 mark was estimated to be the 25th of December, tourists have been pouring in, with the 100,000th tourist arrival since the pandemic being marked just last week.
As per the latest estimates, Maldives is expected to welcome a total of 525,000 tourists by the end of this year and an additional 1.5 million in the upcoming year.
The gradual increase in arrivals is attributed to decreasing travel restrictions and more airlines making trips to Maldives from key markets. Key airlines include Emirates ,Qatar Airways and Russian Airline Aeroflot among many others.
Russia has been the largest market for tourism to the Maldives since borders reopened, with 17,404 guest arrival from the country. The country has held a relatively large percentage of the tourist arrival market share after borders opened and is followed by India, U.K. and the U.S. when ranked by tourists arrivals.
Looking at the airlines, a total of 15 airlines including Maldivian and Fly Me, carried tourists to and from the country, with Emirates being the airline which brought in the most number of tourists.
Tourism Ministry has also established a tourism help desk at Velana International Airport’s arrival terminal. The purpose of this help desk is to provide information and assistance to the tourists who visit Maldives during this time.
Ministry highlighted that through this counter, all information on Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Tourism Ministry’s rules and regulations set amid the Covid-19 would be available. In addition to this the counter would also facilitate in assisting tourists to solve any issues which might arise between them and resorts, guest houses and safaris.
Ministry also stated that as the airport was the first entry point to the country which is heavily dependent on tourism, and that by having a help desk at the arrival terminal would allow tourists to solve any issues which might arise and give them a warm welcome to the country. According to the ministry, the help desk would also increase the safety of the tourists more than now.
The Desk will be open for flight operational hours and travelers and operators who need assistance may call +960 9423131 to get their assistance.
After the borders have opened, Tourism Ministry has been proactively doing various activities and taking measures to promote tourism in the country including promotional events and high safety standards in the tourism sector to prevent spreading of Covid-19 virus in the resorts and other tourist facilities.
Maldives also got certified as a “Safe Travel” destination which is safe for tourists to travel to in September. This stamp is provided to countries which are the safest with regards to Covid-19.
Only a negative PCR test not exceeding 96 hours is necessary to enter Maldives, and travelers of every nationality are offered a free tourist visa of 30 days on arrival. Split stays among exclusive tourist resorts, guesthouses on local islands and safaris.