Borders will be opened only after COVID-19 is controlled: Tourism Minister

Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed has stated the Maldivian borders will be opened only after the spread of COVID-19 is brought under control.

Speaking to PSM News, Minister Ali Waheed said several tourists have been making bookings to come to the Maldives, including tourists looking to arrive on chartered flights and private jets. He said arrangements to welcome the tourists will be made, but only after the situation of COVID-19 is brought under control.

The tourism minister said the administration expects to resume tourism operations within the third quarter of the year, which lies between July and September. The minister noted the research on resuming tourism, which was conducted by a team of medical experts, has been completed. He added the ministry will be submitting a report to the President’s Office, regarding the work being done to reopen borders once the COVID-19 situation is controlled.

Noting several employees working in the tourism sector have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the minister highlighted the importance of facilitating means to restore their jobs. He also said arrangements are being made to ensure the safety of tourists and locals after reopening borders, adding plans are being made to continue COVID-19 testing and quarantine practices even after resuming tourism operations.

Maldivian borders were closed in March due to the global outbreak of COVID-19.