Guideline formulated to commence safe tourism

Ministry of Tourism has formulated a guideline to reopen the borders of the Maldives to visitors as it plans to restart safe tourism.

The tourism ministry said has opened the draft of the guideline for public comments and has also invited all industry stakeholders to express their opinions.

As per the guideline, all private jets and chartered flights arriving in the Maldives will be charged a landing fee of USD 50,000, in addition to a special visa fee of USD 100 along with another USD 100 for a PCR test to be done on arrival. The guideline includes instructions for visitors during the various phases of their holiday, from the time they land in the Maldives until they depart the country.

Additionally, the guideline also includes specific operational procedures for all resorts, guesthouses and safaris. The guideline states visitors, their luggage and travel documents will be disinfected at the airport upon arrival and following which, they will be required to pay a fee of USD 100 to complete a screening process to check temperature and lookout for guests with respiratory symptoms.

After the screening, they will be taken to the resort where staff will always maintain a 1-metre distance at all times. The staff will also be required to wear facial masks and gloves. All trolleys will also be disinfected after transferring luggage.

Transfer of tourists can only be done in a permitted speedboat or aircraft cleared for all health and safety standards, and all vessels must be disinfected once the transfer is completed. As groups have been instructed to book for separate transfers, tourist facilities must also ensure alternate seats are left vacant on seagoing vessels and aircraft.

Once the guests arrive in the resort, they will be escorted directly to their rooms where they will have to remain in isolation until the COVID-19 test results are available. Additionally, the facilities must carry check-in processes online, and the resort staff must always wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

The visitors will be allowed to leave the rooms if they test negative for COVID-19 and they will be monitored for symptoms by health professionals in the resort even if they test negative.

The guideline also includes instructions for safe tourist facilities to include 10% of rooms for isolation of guests whereas it should also allocate faculties for quarantining staff equivalent to 10% of the staff population.

Many high-end tourists have expressed interest in visiting the Maldives even amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic and resort owners have called to open the resorts in the atolls where no cases have been recorded.