The Edition


Switzerland to resume flights to Maldives

Mariyam Malsa
17 September 2020, MVT 21:42
Switzerland is scheduled to resume flights to Maldives. PHOTO: EDELWEISS AIR
Mariyam Malsa
17 September 2020, MVT 21:42

Switzerland's Edelweiss Air, on Wednesday, announced that it would resume regular flights to Maldives on September 26, following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the airline, two weekly flights would be held between Velana International Airport and Zurich, Switzerland.

Chief Commercial Officer of Edelweiss Air, Patrick Heymann, stated that Maldives is currently one of the safest destinations for holidaymakers.

Switzerland is a considerable source market for the Maldivian tourism industry with a total of 33,829 Swiss tourists arriving till date in 2020.

On Tuesday, 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.

Although Maldives reopened borders with a set of very lenient guidelines, the state is now strengthening safety measures to ensure the safety of all, including the staff working in the hospitality industry.

A new regulation, which came into effect on September 10, now mandates all visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival to Maldives.

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.

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

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, Maldives 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