Male’, Maldives – Ministry of Tourism has revealed that a total of 182 guesthouses in 10 atolls of Maldives have reopened their services after a long period of time being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the statistics published by the ministry, a large number of guesthouses reopened are located in the Greater Male’ Region with a total number of 81 guesthouses. While a total of 48 guesthouses in Alif Alif Atoll reopened, 18 of the remaining establishments are in Alif Dhaalu Atoll and 17 are in Vaavu Atoll. Guesthouses in Haa Alif, Noonu, Baa and Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll have also started accepting reservations.
Authorities have continuously asserted that guesthouse operations must be conducted in accordance with a set of strict regulations. While all tourists staying at guesthouses in the Male’ region for more than 48 hours must present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure, guesthouse employees must also undergo testing on a monthly basis.
As per the guidelines, each guesthouse must have a separate isolation area based on bed capacity, for positive cases and close contacts, while flu clinics and designated vehicles for transportation must be present on every island where local tourism resumes. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has also announced that wearing masks in public will be mandatory for both locals and tourists in islands where guesthouses have resumed operations.
Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers on July 15, after nearly four months since the state halted issuing on-arrival visas on March. On December 12, Maldives recorded the arrival of the 100,000th tourist following the removal of travel restrictions. Five days after the milestone was reached, the government welcomed 500,000th tourist for the year 2020, hence reaching the anticipated target for the year.
Although Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, there has been a gradual increase with the establishment of travel bubbles between Maldives and other countries, as well as greater connectivity in terms of flight operations. It is anticipated that Maldives will reach peak arrival rates during the year of 2021.