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Maldives Association of Yacht Agents (MAYA) has stated over 20,000 tourist bookings will be cancelled following the decision of the administration to ban the entry of cruise ships to Maldives as a safety measure against the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The administration announced yesterday that cruise ships will be temporarily banned from entering Maldives to safeguard the country from a COVID-19 outbreak. Speaking to PSM News, President of MAYA Mohamed Nasheed said the ban is expected to cause cancellation of over 20,000 tourist bookings from 16 cruise ships which were scheduled to arrive in Maldives from the beginning of March. He said MAYA will conduct discussions with the tourism ministry to mitigate the damages the ban will incur on the safari industry.
The decision came at a time several cruise ships have been visiting Maldives, with some cruises carrying over 2,000 passengers. According to statistics from Maldives Immigration, 15 cruise ships were docked in Maldives during January alone.
The administration says the ban of cruise ships will be lifted after consideration into the global situation of COVID-19. Several countries have imposed strict border control measures in order to alleviate the risk of the virus, including restricting entry of tourists from countries worst affected by the virus.