Maldives and neighboring India have agreed to create the first Air Bubble in South Asia. This Air Bubble will ease travel between India and Maldives while maintaining health standards. Maldives Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid has revealed several key initiatives with India in order to boost tourism and connectivity between the two nations.

India will fund the implementation of the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project through a USD 400 million LOC and USD 100 million grant. External affairs minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar revealed that the 6.7 km bridge project connecting Male’ with Gulhifalhu Port and Thilafushi industrial zone will help revitalize and transform the Maldivian economy.

A landmark moment in Maldives-India cooperation today as we receive Indian assistance of USD250 million as budget support and USD500 million for the Greater Malé Connectivity Project. I thank PM @narendramodi and the Indian people for their generosity and friendship.

President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih tweeted.

In 2019, India was the fastest-growing source market for Maldives tourism. The Indian tourist market to Maldives saw a staggering growth last year with an annual growth of 83.5%.

Maldives opened its borders on 15th July 2020 for all travelers with no restrictions. As of 8th August 2020, 6,277 tourist arrivals to the Maldives has been recorded following the border reopening. Likewise, COVID-19 facilities with testing, isolation, and hospitalization capabilities have been established in six regions across the Maldives. Response measures, guidelines, and protocols have been prepared and put in place, on par with international standards and requirements.

The government made the decision to reopen the borders, fully confident in the safety measures and preparations in place. Tourism is the backbone of the Maldives’ economy and accounts for a majority share of employment for the Maldivian labor force. The industry contributes to over a quarter of the country’s GDP and is the source of over two-thirds of the country’s foreign currency income.

Feature image by Maldives Airports Company LTD