Velana Airport in Partial Closure over Coronavirus Travel Restrictions

Transfers in The Maldives


Responsive image

30 March, 2020

The Maldives’ main international airport is being closed every night for commercial operations, as the island nation closed its borders to contain a potential spread of COVID-19.

Velana International Airport was closed from 9pm Saturday to 6am Sunday.

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) said the night time airport closure will be in effect until further notice.

“During the time of closure medical, humanitarian and non scheduled flights will be accommodated with three hours of prior notice,” the state-owned airport operator said on Twitter.

The Maldives on Friday enforced a blanket suspension of on-arrival visa in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Even before Wednesday’s announcement, the Maldives had closed its borders to arrivals from some of the worst-hit countries, including mainland China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Visitors from three regions of Germany (Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg), two regions of France (Île-de-France and Grand Est) and two regions of South Korea were also banned from entering the country.

All direct flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and Iran were also cancelled.

Cruise ships and foreign yachts were also banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.

On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.

Twelve more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except one Maldivian who had returned from the United Kingdom — were later identified.

However, nine out of the 14 have made full recoveries, whilst the rest are being treated at designated quarantine facilities.

The Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.

The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including a ban on inter-island travel of tourists, including for excursions and between resort islands.

A nationwide shut down of all guesthouses and city hotels has also been ordered. Spa facilities located on inhabited islands have also been closed.

The Covid-19 outbreak has hit the Maldivian economy hard, as travel restrictions and other preventive measures affect the country’s lucrative tourism industry, which contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.

Before the pandemic, the government had been bullish about tourism prospects, targeting two million, high-spending holidaymakers this year after last year’s record 1.7 million.

However, tourist arrivals saw a year-over-year decline of 22.8 per cent in the first 10 days of this month. With arrival numbers falling, several resorts across the Maldives had been closed.

Tourism has been the bedrock of the Maldives’ economic success. The $5 billion-dollar economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2018 with tourism generating 60 per cent of foreign income.

However, the government is at present projecting a possible 5.6 per cent economic contraction this year — an estimated $446 million hit.

The government has launched an emergency MVR 2.5 billion ($161.84 million) facility and a package of financial measures to shore up the local economy against the coronavirus pandemic.

The MVR 2.5 billion stimulus plan includes MVR 1.55 billion ($100 million) in emergency loans for businesses to meet short-term working capital needs.

The emergency facility is complemented by a package of financial measures, including a six-month moratorium on principal and interest repayments for personal and business loans sanctioned by commercial banks.

Meanwhile, Bank of Maldives (BML) has announced a $2 million short-term financing facility for the tourism industry.

The facility by the country’s largest bank allows operational resorts and guesthouses finance up to $2 million to manage their working capital requirements, with a repayment period of three years.

Check Availability and Prices in Hotels near Male Airport

Hotels in the Maldives Enter your dates and choose from 759 hotels and other places to stay!
Deals Finder
hotel best price guarantee
Responsive image
Maldives Luxury Hotel

Airports of The Maldives

water villa maldives

Maldives, the most dispersed country on the planet with 1,192 islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, already has 13 airports, including four international airports. Honeymoon islands with white sandy beaches and beautiful blue lagoons surrounded by turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean pleasing to the eye already on the airplane board before landing at one of the airports of the Maldives.

Over a million tourists from across the globe visit the Indian Ocean island nation every year to holiday in one of the 120 resorts and 300 plus guesthouses located in all corners of the country. The multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main economic activity, relies heavily on the domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel. Read More.

what is better: beach or overwater

Beach or Water Villa?

Maldives - a name that became synonymous with honeymooners' paradise in the tourism world, has slowly revamped to cater to the needs of families visiting this tropical island. Special kids

Read More
10 Romantic Dining Experiences

10 Romantic Dining Experiences

The Maldives is a breathtaking destination with it's paper-white sands, azure lagoons, and seclude island vibes. Dining and romance go hand in hand in the Maldives.The restaurants and destination

Read More
best Underwater Restaurants in maldives or where to eat underwater

6 Underwater Restaurants

Dining under the sea is a growing trend in the Maldives that enables diners to enjoy a great food and incredible underwater views all at once. The 6 breathtaking underwater restaurants in Maldives must to

Read More
Best Resorts for Vegetarians

Maldives Hotel Reviews

Some of the best hotels and resorts in the Maldives are already included in this list, and the good part of them offers the best prices. We will constantly add new hotels, so regularly check for the best deals

Read More
10 Best Islands for Snorkeling

10 Best Liveaboards

Liveaboards in Maldives is the best way to discover underwater world with many must-have tropical SCUBA experiences. Deserted, white sand islands

Read More
10 Exclusive Resorts in Maldives

10 Exclusive Resorts in Maldives

The Maldives is paradise destination that should be on the bucket list of every discerning travelers. There's a special breed of hotels there that cater to the most tasteful of luxury travelers

Read More
...

Maldives Luxury Guide

Here's the best of Maldives for luxury travellers. We've compiled the finest recommendations of places to stay, ranging from the most celebrated five-star resorts to luxurious private islands Read More

...

Maldives Romantic Guide

The ultimate ‘flop and drop' and honeymoon destination, the Maldives is the playground for the most amazing and finest utilization of each second of this extremely valuable and hopeful time with each other in tota Read More

...

Maldives Budget Guide

Budget travellers choose Maldives as their destination of choice thanks to the variety of affordable stays  Read More

...

Maldives Family Guide

Maldives - a name that became synonymous with honeymooners' paradise in the tourism world, has slowly Read More

scuba diving in the maldives ultimate guide

Maldives Diving Guide

The life of these paradise islands below the Indian Ocean's level is the main draw attracting thousands of divers Read More

Maldives Best Hotel Deals

Booking.com
Booking.com
Booking.com
Booking.com