Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has clarified that the current draft SOP “Maldives Safe Tourism Guideline” was not discussed with them during the drafting stage.
MATATO raised concerns regarding the guideline on 21st May 2020 as some medias mentioned that the draft was prepared with the input and feedback from industry stakeholders. As one of the key stakeholders of the tourism industry in Maldives, MATATO was compelled to clarify that they are now in the process of reviewing the Guideline along with their domestic and international stakeholders in order to provide feedback.
Given the severity of the impact from the COVID-19, it is imperative that all stakeholders are consulted and allowed the opportunity to give diligent feedback in order to effectively recover from this global crisis.”MATATO
MATATO also extended their appreciation of the initiatives taken by the government of Maldives to resume meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders of the industry to review the drafted SOP. This would facilitate the borders reopening and the national recovery process.
According to MATATO, it is significant to prepare for borders reopening while having a practical approach to re-entering the global tourism market rather than hindering an already ailing tourism industry. Furthermore, they added that Maldives should not depart from the 40 years of welcoming travellers and that a balance needs to be found to ensure the recovery process of the industry is not hindered.
Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the tourism industry is the single most affected economic sector in the Maldives. The UNWTO estimates that 70-80% of the global tourist numbers will fall, further worsening the recovery efforts of managing the economy in destinations like Maldives. As per the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Maldives is one of the most severely impacted countries due to the pandemic.
Feature image by The Edition.mv