Tourism hotspot and a favourite honeymoon destination Maldives is now open to visitors. As of 15 July the island nation in the Indian Ocean reopened doors to international tourism. The tourism board planned a phased reopening and as part of the initial steps, Maldives welcomed inbound flights to its main airport from July. Those with private jets or yachts were also permitted to visit the island. Here’s a list of guideline you must know in case you’re visiting Maldives anytime soon.
1. 30-Day Free Tourist Visa
After being closed to outsiders since March, the country welcomed tourists without quarantine or mandatory testing. However, the rules have now changed and a negative PCR test is mandatory for all travellers entering the country. All travellers will be given a 30-day tourist visa free of charge, upon arrival. No minimum stay will be required but all toasts are required to have a confirmed accommodation before arriving at Maldives. Earlier, multiple resort stays was banned. However, the ministry has now removed the ban and guests can stay in multiple resorts in the island.
2. Entry Requirement For Travellers
When the country reopened in July, tourists did not have to be tested or carry virus-free certificates when entering the country. Since then, reported reveal that 29 local staff and 16 foreigners have tested positive at the resorts, and were isolated. The country has now rolled out new guidelines for tourists in order to ensure safety.
According to the latest update from the Ministry of Tourism, visitors and travellers arriving in Maldives must show a negative PCR test result upon arrival at Male International Airport. The test must be taken 72 hours prior to departure. The rule comes into effect from 10 September, 2020. Initially, the country did not require quarantine or Covid testing for visitors. Travellers were only asked to submit a health declaration form at least 24 hours before they arrived.
3. Upon Arrival
Upon arrival, travelers need not undergo quarantine measures. However, some resorts might ask travellers to self-isolate upon arrival. Travellers should download the contact tracing app TraceEkee to allow authorities to trace any possible spread of the virus.
In addition, travellers from the USA also need not undergo quarantine upon arrival at Velana International Airport in the capital, Male. However, a Covid negative certificate is mandatory for all passengers.
Most of the islands open for tourism feature just a single resort. So, this will help authorities keep a track of Covid patients, in case there is an infection. However, before you hop on that plane and jet to the paradise, you might want to beware that travelers must abide by their own country’s quarantine measures upon their return.
4. Guests Might Have To Undergo PCR Test
As of now, over 50 resorts are open in Maldives. More resorts will open doors in September and October. The government has issued ‘Safe Tourism Licenses’ to accredit tourist facilities that follow the Covid rules. This includes having a doctor on call, stocking up adequate personal protection equipment etc.
Besides, some resorts also ask guests to undergo PCR test at the airport, before they are transferred to the resort by the sea plane. Once at the resort, guests are check into their villas and are requested to remain there until the test results are received and are negative. In case the tests turn out positive, guests must isolate in their villas and will be looked after by trained nurses. However, now that a negative PCR test is mandatory upon arrival, it is unclear if resorts will also test arriving guests. Meanwhile, 46 Hours, 2 Days, 3 Cities: Here’s How Two Stranded Indian Teens Reached Home In Time For Eid.
5. Island Hopping Is Now Permitted
As well as tightening the entry restrictions, the Ministry of tourism has also relaxed rules on island-hopping. As part of a new “Split Stay” initiative, travellers can now visit more than one resort in the country. To be a part of this initiative, resorts must have not recorded a coronavirus case for at least 28 days. Besides, they must also be conduct exit screenings on travellers to record any medical history. Tourists who wish to visit two resorts in the same trip must seek permission from the Minstiry of Tourism at least two days prior to their intended date of travel. In addition, guest houses in the island are also set to reopen in October.
List Of Airlines Flying To Maldives
Emirates is currently servicing flights to Maldives from Dubai. The airline also has connecting flights from London, Chicago, Toronto and Sydney, via Dubai. Qatar Airways resumed flights to Maldives on 15 July from Doha. The airline also offers connecting flights from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Sydney, New York and Los Angeles. Etihad and Turkish Airlines have also resumed flight to Maldives.
However, travelers must note that some airlines might also ask for a negative Covid-19 test report. Upon arrival, tourists must fill in a health declaration card and a 30-day tourist visa will be provided. Travellers showing Covid symptoms must check at their own cost and will then be sent to a designated facility for isolation.