Ministry of Tourism has revealed the government will permit the reopening of guesthouses from 15th October 2020. According to the ministry, the issuing of the permit will be based on consent from Island Council. Meanwhile, guesthouses need to follow the guidelines by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC).

Meanwhile, HPA has made it mandatory for all tourists and short term visitors to the Maldives to present a negative PCR certificate on their arrival. This measure will come into effect from 10th September 2020. Likewise, guesthouse tourism was originally due to recommence in August 2020. However, it was delayed as an extra precaution.

COVID-19 facilities with testing, isolation, and hospitalization capabilities have been established in different regions across the Maldives. Meanwhile, Response measures, guidelines, and protocols have been prepared and put in place, on par with international standards and requirements.

With the majority of COVID-19 cases predominantly based in the capital city of Male’, it is important that the country’s COVID-19 risk status be assessed in light of this population density in the urban areas. The population density in Male’ City is vastly higher than any of the other islands in the country.

Since the country’s first guest house was opened in 2008, the industry has grown tremendously. Although, COVID-19 has had an immense impact on the socio-economic lives of Maldivians and everyone associated with its tourism industry. Likewise, any sudden changes to the Maldives’ risk level have a significant impact on the industry’s ability to attract visitors and therefore, the rest of the economy.

Currently, a select number of resorts and liveaboards are open for tourism in the Maldives. The reopening of guesthouses would mark as a major step towards reviving the economy. The small guesthouse businesses in the Maldives have been immensely affected by the global pandemic.

Feature image by Season Paradise Maldives