Opening borders important for economic recovery: Tourism Minister

Minister of Tourism Abdulla Mausoom has stated reopening the borders was an important step towards economic recovery.

In his address on World Tourism Day, Minister Mausoom expressed his appreciation for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for making the decision to reopen the country's borders. The minister also said the theme for this year's World Tourism Day is Tourism for Inclusive Growth, which is also an important policy of the government. He said the government places a high priority on promoting local tourism businesses such as resorts, hotels, guesthouses, and safaris as well as diving centres and water sports centres. He said the purpose of promoting local tourism businesses is to increase the number of well-paid jobs and opportunities for Maldivians, especially for women.

Furthermore, the tourism minister said the government prioritises extending the benefits of the tourism industry to the average citizen. As such, the minister noted the government will be allowing homestay tourism from January 2022 onwards, allowing the average person to benefit from tourism. He also highlighted the difficulties faced by the tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of borders last year.

However, the minister said President Solih's decision to reopen borders has allowed the Maldives to make a rapid economic recovery. He said the current statistics show the number of tourist visits this month is 12% higher than in the same month in 2019 and that the government expects 1.3 million tourist visits by the end of the year.