The Edition


Tourist arrivals increase by 61 percent: Immigration

Mariyam Malsa
20 September 2020, MVT 20:27
Maldives welcomes its first tourists after the country reopened borders on July 15. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
20 September 2020, MVT 20:27

Maldives immigration, on Sunday, revealed that tourist arrivals had increased by 61 percent in the second month following the reopening of Maldives' borders on July 15.

According to statistics issued by Immigration, a total of 8,339 tourists arrived in Maldives between August 16 to September 15, compared to a figure of 5,177 from July 15 to August 15.

In the second month following the reopening of borders, the highest number of incoming tourists were recorded from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 656 arrivals, followed by Russia which accounted for 539 tourists.

The United States (US), Spain and Germany also rank among the countries from which Maldives recorded the most tourist arrivals.

Despite the lifting of travel restrictions, Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, with only a total of 13,516 tourists arriving in Maldives between July 15 and September 15, as per Maldives Immigration.

However, Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the government is expecting an additional 100,000 tourist arrivals before year end.

In a move to strengthen safety measures, the government mandated tourists to present a negative PCR certificate upon arrival from September 10 onwards.

On September 15, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) granted Maldives the Safe Travels Stamp, in recognition of the island nation's efforts to implement enhanced health and safety measures.

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.

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.