Qatar’s national carrier ‘Qatar Airways’ has, as of last Thursday, increased its flights headed to Velana International Airport (VIA).
Previously, the airline was operating a total of three daily flights to the island nation.
However, due to a significant increase in demand, starting from January 1, 2021, Qatar Airways has begun landing four flights in Maldives on a daily basis.
A tweet posted by the official handle for Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), stated that each flight would feature seat capacity for over 1100 passengers.
Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers on July 15, after nearly four months since the state halted issuing on-arrival visas on March 27. Guesthouses were permitted to resume operations and kick start local tourism on October 15.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, the country has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures. While a total of 382,760 tourists were recorded before borders were closed in March, the latest figures by Maldives Immigration show that only 27,217 tourists arrived in Maldives in the three months following the lifting of travel restrictions.
Further, the Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom has expressed hopes for the industry's recovery, estimating that 100,000 tourists would visit Maldives before the end of 2020. The tourism ministry expects a total of 500,000 arrivals for the year.
The country reached its target on December 29 and by December 31, Maldives welcomed a total of 552,811 tourists with over 160,000 tourist arrivals recorded since borders reopened.
Earlier, Dr Mausoom had also shared having received word that several airlines would push forward operations in Maldives by the end of 2020, including bumping up the number of flights. Currently, more than 20 airlines have resumed regular operations to VIA.