The Edition


Cases must remain at 5% for guesthouses to reopen: Tourism Minister

Mariyam Malsa
17 September 2020, MVT 16:33
A guesthouse in Kaafu Atoll's Dhiffushi. PHOTO: BOOKING.COM
Mariyam Malsa
17 September 2020, MVT 16:33

Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom, on Wednesday, stated that guesthouses in the Greater Male' Region would be allowed to reopen should daily COVID-19 cases remain at five percent for two consecutive weeks.

The tourism minister expressed aspirations that tourist facilities in Male', Hulhumale' and Vilimale' could resume operations in early November.

Speaking to local media outlet Mihaaru, Minister Mausoom assured the government's continued efforts to curb the spread of the virus and reduce infections.

While an average of 1,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests are conducted in the Greater Male' Region, a daily infection rate of 5 percent would represent less than 50 positive cases per day.

Maldives currently records a total of 9,427 virus cases, out of which 1,485 are active cases, in addition to 7,903 recoveries and 33 deaths.

The Ministry of Tourism previously announced that guesthouses outside the capital city of Male' would be allowed to reopen on October 15.

At present, guesthouses and hotels in inhabited islands across the country are only permitted to host tourists overnight for transit purposes.

As with numerous countries around the world, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Maldives closed its air and sea borders to tourist arrivals on March 27, halting the issuance of on-arrival visas until July 15.

Despite the lifting of restrictions, Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, with the ministry revealing that only 11,629 visitors were recorded between July 15 and September 8.

The restrictions on international travel left Maldives' heavily tourism reliant economy in an extremely vulnerable state. In mid-April, the World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic.

Overall, the Maldivian government estimates a shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency and a state deficit of MVR 13 billion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the tourism industry.