Maldives is opening to tourists without any Covid-19 restrictions

That Maldivian sunset you’ve been dreaming of could be a reality sooner than you thought possible. The Indian Ocean island nation is planning to open itself up to tourists from around the world with no Covid-19 reservations whatsoever starting as early as this July. This is a total reversal of the number of Covid-19-related travel restrictions the country had announced less than two weeks ago.   

Maldives: old rules are the new rules

Starting July, tourists from all countries will be able to visit the Maldives visa-free, with no Covid-19 testing on either end of their flight to the destination, stay for as long as they like and won’t be required to self-quarantine either. So, in effect, it is back to business-as-usual in the tropical paradise, it seems. The Ministry of Tourism put out a notice saying “see you in July” when it says “the sun will shine in the Maldives again”.

No visas needed

This marks a departure from the long list of requirements the government was mulling only late last month. These included many firsts: a tourist visa that would cost around $100 (AED 367), a minimum 14-night stay, as well as producing a Covid-19 test result from no more than one week before arrival. Tourists would have had to be tested again when they arrived in the country at an additional cost of $100. They would then have to quarantine in their hotel or resort room till they got their test results back in a few hours time. 

Now all these restrictions are out the window and visitors can come and go as they please, like before the pandemic. The country that relies heavily on tourism dollars has been almost completely shut  to visitors since March when the first cases of Covid-19 were detected on the islands. (Maldives has had around 2,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 so far). A few resorts have remained open through the lockdown and, starting 1 June, guests travelling by private jet or yacht have been welcomed into the country. But almost all commercial flights remain suspended.

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The only change tourists who have been to the island previously will notice is that the government is issuing safe tourism resort licences to resorts. To get this accreditation, resorts will have to meet government requirements on cleanliness training, allocate 10 percent of rooms and resort staff for guests in quarantine, train all staff to deal with an outbreak, have a medic on call and have an adequate amount of personal protection equipment in stock. While before the government announced that on arrival visitors would have to produce a reservation at a hotel or resort with a safe tourism license, this regulation too has been scrapped.

Source: cntraveller.in