President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday, announced that Maldives will reopen its borders and resume tourism on July 15.
Speaking at a special press conference held at the President's Office, President Solih revealed that the administration will grant permits to operate resorts, before greenlighting the guesthouse industry in August.
Although the government initially stated that all incoming tourists would be tested for COVID-19, Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s draft guidelines permitting tourists to enter Maldives without presenting the results of a COVID-19 test. exempt visitors scheduled to spend their holidays at resorts from undergoing tests.
However, HPA mandated holidaymakers arriving in Maldives to observe social distancing measures and wear facemasks. Passengers will also undergo thermal screening and be referred to the airport clinic if high temperatures, breathing difficulties or other symptoms are observed.
Emphasizing on a difficult to economic recovery, he noted that the following six months would be particularly difficult on various sectors as well as businesses.
As with many countries around the world, in the wake of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, Maldives closed its air and sea borders to tourist arrivals on March 27, having already restricted inter-island and inter-atoll travel.
Just a few months earlier, government projections for tourism were overwhelmingly positive, hoping to reach the two million mark in 2020 and topple 2019’s record of 1.7 million tourist arrivals.
The travel restrictions, implemented 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, with the industry momentarily grounded to a halt, 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