A detailed Guide on Travelling to the Maldives during COVID-19
Fifty shades of blue, talcum powder beaches and a world without masks offering island exclusivity, enhanced safety standards and natural distancing make the Maldives one of the safest and most alluring destinations for travel right now. In a Covid-19 era of travel, where privacy and seclusion are paramount, the Maldives has only got more appealing. The paradisiacal island archipelago lends itself to social distancing, with islands spread across 26 atolls. The Maldives' one island, one resort is a policy adopted by most islands, so guest-to-guest contact is limited.
Due to the unprecedented global pandemic, Maldives had to close its borders due to the stringent public health measures taken to curb the COVID19 outbreak and tourism had to come to a standstill. After 110 days of closing the borders, when the world was recovering from the current situation, the government decided to reopen the international borders. The government is now fully confident in the safety measures and preparations to ensure all visitors and people working in the tourism sector.
What are the restrictive measures within the Maldives?
- A state of emergency for Public Health has been declared from March 2020 and Travel between resorts, safaris and inhabited islands are restricted from April 2020.
- All excursion activities within the Maldives have been banned since April 2020.
- Tourist entry inside the guesthouses and city hotels of Malé, Villimalé and Hulhumalé is suspended from March 2020.
- All non-essential travel between islands in the Maldives is restricted from April 2020.
- Resorts and liveaboards present in uninhabited islands resumed operations from July 2020.
- Suppose a case of COVID-19 is identified in a tourist facility. In that case, procedures are set in place for the property to work with Maldives' government to ensure the safe return of unaffected tourists to their home country.
- Maldives' government is closely monitoring and enforcing measures to prevent any effective community spread of the virus.
- Tourist establishments are regulated to ensure alignment with the COVID-19 tourism guidelines as mandated by WHO.
- A certification program is mandated for proper safety and hygiene standards.
- The Ministry of Tourism has issued COVID-19 guidelines to all the hoteliers and tour operators for additional safety.
Before Departure to the Maldives -
- A confirmed booking in a hotel/hostel/resort registered with the Ministry of Tourism is mandatory. A list of tourist establishments and their tentative reopening dates is available on the Visit Maldives website.
- The guideline details what tourists can expect as they plan to visit the Maldives and aptly named Public Health Interventions to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission.
- Split-Stays are permitted between all tourist establishments that meet all compulsory requirements under the Split-Stay guideline approved by the local Health Protection Agency. Agencies must submit the Requests for approval of these Split-Stays to the Ministry of Tourism two days before the travelling date.
- All tourists have to submit an online Health Declaration Form within 24 hours before departure through the IMUGA portal.
- All tourists must hold a negative PCR test for COVID-19. The test must be conducted 96 hours before the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation.
- If the tourist makes a transit in the itinerary, the initial PCR test will hold valid, if the transit time does not exceed 24 hours from the journey. If the tourist makes a transit exceeding 24 hours, the passenger must repeat the PCR test within 96 hours before the transit port.
The document containing the PCR test result includes-
Name and address of the testing laboratory, Name of the passenger (name as in passport), type of test stated as a PCR test and Date and time of sampling and Result. The PCR test result should be submitted through the IMUGA portal 24 hours before departure to the Maldives. Also, the lab result should be presented in paper or electronic format during the airline check-in.
On Arrival in the Maldives -
- All tourists are granted a 30-day visa upon arrival issued free-of-cost.
- Quarantine upon arrival is not mandatory. However, if the passenger has any symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath on board the flight or upon arrival, it should be informed to the local Health Protection Agency.
- Tourists arriving in the Maldives have to undergo a mandatory thermal screening at the arrival terminal.
- All tourists should wear masks.
- Tourists should sanitize hands thoroughly, Hand sanitization and hygiene facilities are available throughout the airport.
- People should ensure Physical distancing. All physical distancing guidelines are marked with visible distance information and floor markings in passenger terminals.
- All visitors are asked to install the Contact Tracing app "TraceEkee."
Departure from the Maldives -
- Tourists must undergo an exit screening before departure from the resort to ensure that an asymptomatic person or a person in quarantine does not exit the resort and travel.
- The exit screening questionnaire should record any history of respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, high temperatures or shortness of breath during the past 14 days. The management should ensure that the guest is not under quarantine or isolation. Staff may check the temperature to exclude fever.
- A tourist under quarantine or isolation should not exit the resort except for a medical emergency.
- Routine testing for COVID-19 is not required before departure from a resort.
- During exit screening, if any tourist shows fever temperatures or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 within the previous 14 days, they must undergo PCR testing for COVID19.
- Testing services are available in the Maldives, arranged through the destination or resort representative for tourists who require COVID-19 results to return to their countries of origin.
The Air Bubble Initiative
The Air Bubble initiative took off on August 25 2020. It is a first for India within this region to boost tourism, and it has enabled a steady path with weekly flights between the two countries. With the gradual increase in in-flight connectivity and ongoing marketing efforts, India's arrivals are gradually increasing. The Maldives has unveiled a first-of-its-kind loyalty programme that will reward return visitors with exclusive benefits upon each visit. The programme, called 'Maldives Border Miles', is split into three tiers; Bronze (Aida), Silver (Antara) and Gold (Abarana).
Make memories that you can cherish lifelong with romantic dinners on the beach, private barbecues in the villa, and romantic escapades to a deserted island during your stay in the Maldives. The wealth of accommodation options in the Maldives have been designed to suit every type of traveller. This Robinson Crusoe-style beach bungalow opens up onto a private stretch of golden beachfront, an overwater villa out on stilts overlooking the shimmering azure waters of a lagoon, or regal estate offering off-the-charts luxury with its private pool.