The Ministry of Tourism, on Wednesday, revealed that guesthouses and hotels in the capital city of Male' would be permitted to accommodate tourists for transit purposes from July 15 onwards.
The decision was finalised under Section D2 of the 'Guideline for Restarting Tourism in Maldives' which stipulates that guesthouses and hotels in inhabited islands could host travellers overnight strictly for transit purposes.
According to the ministry, permits will be issued to establishments in Male', and suburbs Hulhumale' and Vilimale' in accordance with standards set by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
Guesthouses and hotels were urged to adhere to all regulations and guidelines.
The Maldivian government will reopen its borders and kickstart the tourism industry on July 15.
Although luxury resorts across the country are permitted to welcome guests starting from July 15, guesthouses will be given clearance to resume operations in August.
The Tourism Ministry has revealed its goal of attracting 900,000 tourists to Maldives during the remaining months of 2020.
Just a few months earlier, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, government projections for tourism indicated the likelihood that overall tourist arrivals would reach two million, toppling 2019’s record of 1.7 million.
However, travel restrictions implemented on March 27 as part of Maldives' response to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, have left the country vulnerable to severe economic impacts. Mid-April, World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic.
Heavily reliant on tourism for revenue, Maldives estimates a shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency, while projected state deficit would reach MVR 13 billion this year.