Maldives Proposes Safe Tourism Guidelines
Here is all You Need to Know if You are Planning on Travelling to The Maldives during the Coronavirus pandemic
‘Not the time for new taxes’: Maldives promises cheaper post-coronavirus holidays
25 May, 2020
Tourism officials in Maldives on Monday promised to offer cheaper holidays in the upmarket Indian Ocean tourist destination when it reopens its borders to visitors.
The island nation’s tourism minister told the participants of a webinar organised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) that countries should avoid introducing more taxes when they reopen their borders to tourists.
“It’s not the time for new taxes. It’s time to travel again. It’s time to travel safe,” he said.
Ali Waheed said the Maldives will be “a more affordable and a safer destination” when it begins welcoming tourists again in July.
“We are working on guidelines to ensure that our guests once again feel the ‘sunny side of life’ in here,” he said.
“Confidence is the key for a successful international tourism after the pandemic. That’s what Maldives will offer from July.”
The country’s tourism ministry has drafted its own guidelines on reopening the borders and invited comments from industry stakeholders.
Fees proposed in the draft guidelines have also been scrapped.
Maldivian officials have been bullish on their ability to contain the coronavirus outbreak and reopen the country in the third quarter of the year.
The government has formulated five scenarios with possible timelines for reopening borders and the tourism sector.
25 May, 2020
Tourism Ministry has proposed guidelines to commence safe tourism in the Maldives.
The Ministry informs that this guideline draft is open for feedback.
Safe Tourism Resort License
A licensing fee of USD 50,000 is applicable for the issuance of the safe tourism license.
Safe Tourism License shall be issued to resorts complying with all relevant legislation and the following set of standards:
– Resorts shall allocate 10% of registered guest rooms for isolation purposes.
– Resorts shall allocate facilities for quarantining staff equivalent to 10% of staff population
– Guest service staff shall be trained in the use of PPE.
– Staff should be trained on social distancing procedures.
– Staff should be trained on disinfection procedures.
– Emergency procedures shall be put in place to deal with suspected cases of COVID-19 including isolation procedures. All staff shall be trained on these procedures.
– Adequate stock of medically certified PPE (Masks, Gloves, Face Shields, Gowns, Caps and Boots or Boot Covers) shall be maintained by the resort.
– Resort shall have a resident doctor and a nurse (certified by the relevant licensing bodies).
Timeline for Reopening
Tourism Ministry has proposed a phased reopening timeline to recuperate the tourism sector.
Private jets and super yachts will be allowed from June 1st, 2020. Charter flights and private jets will be charged a landing fee of USD 50,000 while super yachts will be charged an entry fee of USD 10,000.
This will be followed by access to charter flights and commercial airlines a month later from July 1st 2020.
Guesthouses and hotels will be permitted to commenced their operations from August 1st, 2020, while no plan is yet in motion to allow cruise ships to the country.
Entry to Maldives
While a prior confirmed booking in a tourist facility with a Safe Tourism License is compulsory, entry into Maldives require a special tourist visa of USD 100 which is applicable “until further notice” by the government. This special tourist visa will only be granted for tourists committing to a minimum stay of 14 nights in the Maldives.
The tourists are also required to present a medical certificate not older than seven days for antigen PCR test or 14 days for antibody test which confirms negative Covid-19 test findings.
In addition to this, it is compulsory for tourists to undergo a PCR Test upon arrival which costs USD 100 per test.
Guest receiving and transportation
All airports will have to have disinfection procedures in place for body, luggage and travel documents of visitors. The staff should have mandatory protective gear such as facemasks and gloves and should maintain 1 meter between the tourist and staff.
While transportation, speedboats and aircrafts carrying tourists to resorts and liveaboards from the airport will have to keep every alternate seat vacant.
On arrival at the tourist facility, guests should be directly escorted to their rooms without waiting for check-in procedures at the reception. Guests will be provided with an online check-in form to be completed in their rooms.
Guests will not be able to leave their rooms until they get the results of their on-arrival PCR test done at the airport. During this period, meals will be served directly to guest rooms.
After test results are received, guests can go out and enjoy all facilities at the resort, but they will be required to adhere to social distancing protocols while interacting with other guests or employees. Tables at restaurants will also be set at a distance of at least two metres and buffet meals will not be served.
The tourism Ministry states that these guidelines will be applicable till September 2020, unless extended by the government.
MATATO deplores tourism reopening proposals for ‘devaluating Maldives brand’
A representative body of local travel agents and tour operators has slammed tourism authorities in Maldives for a “devaluation of the Maldives brand”, after draft guidelines that will impose strict restrictions on tourist facilities and visitors when the country reopens its borders were published for industry feedback.
Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) said Wednesday that the “devaluation” of the country’s tourism brand, which had been established over the course of four decades, will have significant negative effect in the months and years ahead.
Travellers are already painting the Maldives as unwelcoming and inhospitable, it added.
“It is important that we prepare ourselves to open our borders and have a practical approach to re-entering the global tourism market, rather than creating an approach that actively hinders an already ailing tourism industry,” a statement read.
“We believe that we should not depart from our 40 year history of welcoming travellers to the Maldives and we believe that a balance needs to be found to ensure that the largest revenue generating sector of the Maldives, the tourism industry, is not further hindered during our recovery process.”
MATATO also denied comments made by officials and media reports that the draft guidelines were prepared with the feedback and input of industry stakeholders.
Despite being a major tourism representative body, MATATO was not discussed during the drafting stage and only received the draft two days ago — when the tourism ministry published the guidelines for feedback, it said.
“Given the severity of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that all stakeholders are consulted and allowed the opportunity to give diligent feedback, in order to effectively recover from this global crisis,” the statement read.
“We appreciate the initiative now taken by the government to engage in meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders of the tourism industry in order to review the drafted SOP guideline, to facilitate the border’s reopening and the national recovery process.”
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced Wednesday that the Maldives will reopen its borders and restart its worst-hit tourism industry in July.
Meanwhile, guesthouses and hotels will only be allowed to open from August.
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