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Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer has stated only 980,000 tourist arrivals are expected to be recorded in the Maldives this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, the finance minister noted 1.7 million tourists arrived in the Maldives last year. However, the minister said the number will decrease by about 42% with the expected number of arrivals this year to be 980,000.
Tourist arrivals have been suspended since the closure of Maldivian borders in March due to the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The statistics publicised by the Ministry of Tourism revealed 382,760 tourists visited the Maldives by the end of April this year, which was the figure recorded by March 27 when borders were closed.
The country saw a decrease of 41% in tourist arrivals in the first four months of this year, compared to the same period of last year. During the first 4 months of 2019, tourist arrivals were recorded at 646,092.
The tourism ministry has launched major efforts to bring in 1 million tourist arrivals this year including virtual promotional activities led by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporations (MMPRC). Travel surveys conducted across different countries indicate the Maldives remains a popular destination among tourists looking to travel when borders reopen. The tourism ministry revealed several tourists have also placed prior bookings to visit the Maldives when the borders open.