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Maldives witnesses gradual improvement in tourist arrivals

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30 November 2020 08:25 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Records over 78, 000 arrivals from March to September period
  • Maldives opened doors to foreign travellers in mid-July 

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Maldives is witnessing a slow, but gradual increase in tourist arrivals with over 78,000 travellers having visited the archipelagos within the March- September period despite the global pandemic. 


However, the numbers recorded are only a fraction of what was achieved during pre-COVID times.


Maldives, whose economy depends on tourism, opened its doors to travellers from mid-July, while majority of major tourist destinations, including Sri Lanka, remain closed.


Acknowledging that the country needs tourism for survival, its government stepped up efforts by building intensive care units and scaling up testing facilities to prepare for new arrivals.
Although, Maldives faced a minor outbreak in few resorts in August, on September 15, the World Travel and Tourism Council certified the Maldives as a 
safe destination. 


Since the global outbreak in March, Maldives recorded about 10,000 positive cases to-date, but only 34 succumbed to the virus.

At the time of border opening, the Maldives had predicted an additional 400,000 arrivals for 2020, however with its target markets grappling with second and third waves of the virus, the government announced it expects only 100,000 more by year-end.


Figures released by the Maldives Ministry of Tourism showed that since July, where the country welcomed 1,752 tourists, the numbers were improving with the arrivals increasing to 7,628 in August, and to 9, 538 in September. 


However, the numbers achieved over the last few months are a contraction of about 94 percent compared to the corresponding months in 2019.


The top three source markets for the Maldives for the year are Italy, India, and the United Kingdom, followed by China and Russia.


Sri Lanka’s John Keells and Aitken Spence operate resorts in Maldives. 


Sri Lanka hasn’t received any tourists in eight months and the government has not given any indication when the borders will be open for foreign travellers. 

 

 


  Comments - 1

  • Sarah Monday, 30 November 2020 12:31 PM

    Sri Lanka should open the airport ASAP for the Christmas season! And follow the same protocol as Maldives...COVID test required but no quarantine


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