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Lufthansa resumes weekly flights between Maldives, Germany

Ahmed Aiham
28 October 2020, MVT 20:21
The German airline giant Lufthansa touches down at Velana International Airport (VIA) following the reopening of Maldivian borders to tourists. PHOTO: VELANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Ahmed Aiham
28 October 2020, MVT 20:21

German airline giant Lufthansa, on Wednesday, restarted its flights between Maldives and Germany.

According to Lufthansa's schedule, the airline will operate two weekly connections between the countries, every Wednesday and Saturday.

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, Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, with only 22,007 tourists arriving between July 15 and October 5.

All tourists entering Maldives are required to present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 96 hours prior to arrival and are subjected to thermal screenings at the airport.

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

However, Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom noted that both local and international veterans anticipate a sluggish pick up for the travel and hospitality field amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but expressed personal hopes that Maldives could attract at least a million visitors in 2021.

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