Maldives revises tourist arrivals to 1.5 million in 2021

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The Maldivian government has revised tourism arrival projections from 1 million to 1.5 million in 2021 due to the island nation’s early Covid-19 vaccination programme, the tourism minister said. Speaking in Parliament, minister of tourism Abdulla Mausoom said the inoculation programme could help boost the tourism sector.

Mausoom said that efforts were made to develop tourist facilities in the north and south of the country, including two new resorts in the island of Addu and the beginning of chartered flights to the Gan International Airport. The Maldives has allowed 614 tourist facilities to resume operations under health protocols, representing a total bed capacity of over 43,000.

The tourism sector is one of the island nation’s main source of income. It is also the country’s biggest foreign currency earner and the single largest contributor to the GDP.

Maldives reopened its borders to foreign tourists on July 15, 2020, after it remained suspended for a few months in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, all arrivals other than Maldivian citizens are required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test carried out within the 96 hours prior to departure.

Since the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in Britain late last year, all travellers arriving from the UK, including transiting ones, must undergo a 10-day quarantine. However, this does not apply to other tourists.

The Maldives has so far reported a total of 17,201 coronavirus cases and 56 deaths.