The Maldives is aiming to reopen to tourists starting this July as the tourism minister Ali Wahed pleads “We cannot keep our borders closed for long” in a recent statement.
The gorgeous 1190 coral islands and 26 atolls of the Maldives are almost completely reliant on tourism and for the first time in 47 years, they have not had a foreign arrival.
The country has been forced to look at creative ways to reopen swiftly and safely, which has some new protocols being announced for arriving tourists.
Ali Wahed shared the potential plan to The Telegraph, outlining the new rules for welcoming back tourists.
The first idea is a mandatory 2-week stay for any arriving tourist, which could get seriously expensive in a place like The Maldives, which is already one of the most expensive tourist destinations on the globe.
The second protocol would include submitting either a negative antigen test or a positive antibody test 1 week before their arrival, PLUS another test upon arrival at the cost of $100. Tourists would be confined to their hotel suites while the test results come back, which could take anywhere from 3 hours to 12 hours.
The third plan is having tourists not only apply for their 2-week Visa ahead of time at a cost of $100, plus show proof of their travel insurance for the entire trip.
Even with the new health and safety protocols in place to allow the return of tourism, it might be a while before levels are anywhere near the ‘norm’. The Maldives are most famous for being a honeymoon destination, and with many weddings being put on hold, the number newlywed couples looking to take their honeymoon are dramatically down.
The proposed rules seem to only favour wealthy travelers who can afford to stay for over 2-weeks in some of the most expensive hotel rooms on the planet, like the John Jacob Astor Suite at the St. Regis, which goes for around $23,000 USD per night.
The Maldives are hoping their ideas to get travellers to return will be effective, as tourism directly accounts for 39.6% of their GDP, making it the most reliant nation on Earth to tourism.