President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, announced in an address to the nation that Maldives will re-open its borders for international tourists on 15 July 2020. Resorts, liveaboards and hotels located at uninhabited islands will be open from 15 July while guest houses and hotels located at inhabited islands will be open from 1 August 2020.
Maldives relies heavily on the tourism industry as it accounts for the largest foreign exchange earnings, making it the biggest economic contributor in the country. However, it has come to a standstill due to the stringent public health measures taken to curb COVID-19. The tourism industry has been gearing up to restart; it is set to resume in compliance to protective measures, taking into account the safety of tourists and staff working in the industry.
The guidelines for re-opening the tourism sector, ‘Public Health Interventions to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission in the Tourism Sector’, was also released by the Ministry of Tourism giving comprehensive information for all sectors across the tourism industry on their standard operating procedures, as well as important information to tourists.
According to the guidelines, tourists are not required to pay an additional fee, produce a certificate or test result indicative of negative status for COVID-19 prior to entry into Maldives. For tourists without symptoms, there is no requirement for quarantine either. The guideline will be periodically reviewed based on further developments.