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Proposed Guideline Comes With More Regulations and USD 100 for Tourist Visa

Multiple airlines parked at the main airport of maldives, velana international airport
Preparing to reopen Maldives’ shores to guests post COVID-19, the Ministry of Tourism has introduced a ‘Safe Tourism’ plan.

Preparing to reopen Maldives’ shores to guests post COVID-19, the Ministry of Tourism has introduced a ‘Safe Tourism’ draft plan. The new guidelines cover all aspects from entry regulations to checkout procedures, and is open for industry bodies to raise their opinions.

Tourism operations in Maldives had been on hold for nearly two months now. The island nation closed its borders and temporarily suspended visa on arrival for all tourists on 27th March 2020. However, with the Safe Tourism plan, Maldives gears up to restart tourism with strict guidelines to ensure the safety of guests and staff.

According to the plan, guest bookings must be confirmed prior to entry at tourist facilities having a Safe Tourism License. That is a pre-requisite for obtaining visa on arrival. In addition to that, guests must provide a valid travel insurance with medical coverage for the entire duration of the stay. A tourist visa fee of USD 100 will be charged for arrivals until further notice by the government. However, the special tourist visa will only be granted for tourists staying for a minimum of 14 nights in Maldives. Furthermore, the entire stay of the guests must be booked in one tourist facility.

Entry into Maldives also requires a negative PCR report dated maximum seven days before landing in to the country. Travellers can also provide a positive antibody test report at the designated airport on arrival, taken maximum two weeks before landing in Maldives. Arrivals of chartered flights and private jets will be charged with a landing fee of USD 50,000 and arrivals by sea will be charged an entry fee of USD 10,000. However, the arrival of cruise ships will be restricted until further notice.

Upon arriving at the airport, procedures for disinfection of the body, luggage as well as travel documents will be in place. In addition to temperature checks at the airport, guests with respiratory symptoms such as coughing, running nose, or shortness of breath will be identified on arrival. Mandatory PCR tests will be conducted with a fee of USD 100 per test. In addition to maintaining a minimum of one-meter distance between individuals, guests should wear facemasks and use hand sanitizer frequently at the airport.

Several other protective measures are in place including disinfection of trolleys after one use as well as frequently disinfecting common facilities used by tourists. Airport staff will wear protective face shields and gloves at all times and will go through thorough disinfection procedures at the end of their shifts.

Apart from entry regulations, the plan covers each and every activity including luggage handling, arrival at the resorts, as well as safety procedures for staff. Resorts complying with all relevant legislation and the set standards will be issued with the Safe Tourism License. Licensing fee of USD 50,000 will be charged for issuing the Safe Tourism License. Among the standards include allocating 10% of registered guest rooms for isolation purposes as well as guest service staff being trained in using PPE, on social distancing procedures, etc. Adequate stock of medically certified PPE, a resident doctor and a nurse must be on the resort at all times.

Capital Travel Owner Riffath Tweets

Some stakeholders believe that the demand for Maldives is strong and that the unison of all stakeholders can recuperate the tourism industry. With the ‘Safe Tourism’ guidelines ensuring strict uniform safety measures implemented across the country will assure utmost safety.

Feature image by Instagram

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