Tourism operations expected to resume in July

Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer has revealed the government expects to resume tourism operations in July.

Speaking at a press conference held at National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), Finance Minister Ameer stated five different scenarios have been identified based on how the tourism sector and the economy could recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister said scenario 3 has been identified as the most likely scenario, where tourism operations could begin in July, and the country could record 845,546 tourist arrivals this year. He added the figure represents a decrease of over 50% compared to last year when 1.7 million tourist arrivals were recorded.

The finance minister further said the decrease in tourist arrivals will reduce the number of bed nights by 39%. He also noted the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to reduce by 11.5% this year.

The government stopped issuing on-arrival visas on March 27, effectively suspending all tourist arrivals in the country. 382,678 tourist arrivals were recorded by March 27.