Maldives Immigration denied entry to 248 foreigners who tried to enter Maldives with fake hotel bookings on on Thursday.
Immigration Controller Mohamed Ahmed Hussain (Hanafy) had thanked the security officers at airports that managed to stop people from entering Maldives with falsified documents.
"I take this opportunity to assure that we will remain firm to safeguard the borders of the Maldives," Hanafy had said via Twitter.
He had also advised travelers to comply with the entry requirements, as they tend to change more these days amidst pandemic safety regulations.
Maldives closed their borders to South Asian countries following the surge in COVID cases in the region in May. After nearly two months, borders were reopened on Thursday.
Hanafy did not state which country the travelers that had attempted to enter Maldives with false documents were from. However, Indian newspaper Times of India has reported that 168 of the travelers that were denied entry were from India. They were using Maldives as a mid-point to quarantine before they flew to Middle Eastern countries where they had employment set up.
Middle Eastern countries will not be operating direct flights to India until July 21. Indian travelers had used Maldives as a quarantine destination previously too, and there were special packages designed to facilitate this as well.
Two travel agents have been arrested by the Indian police for their role in this fraud.
Following a surge in COVID-19 cases, Maldives closed its borders to South Asian countries in May. The border was reopened on Thursday. Most of the tourists Maldives receives from this region is from India.
When World Heath Organisation announced COVID-19 as a global pandemic in 2020, Maldives closed it's borders in March of the year and opened later in June. Last Thursday, June 15, marks one year since Maldives reopened its borders to tourists.