While the pandemic has brought the world to its knees, it seems recovery is slowly happening now. Many places are opening up now in different phases of unlock for people to enjoy some essential and recreational services, albeit keeping government guidelines in mind. While domestic travelling has been going on for some time now, it appears that international travel will start soon, too.
Starting July 15, after a four-month shutdown, the island country of Maldives has decided to reopen for tourists, and welcoming this move, India is considering establishing an air bubble or air travel bridge to the country.
Now, before you plan a trip to the country, keep some things in mind.
* Read up whatever you can about the government guidelines of the country. Maldives President Ibrahim Solih announced on June 23 that the country would reopen its resorts on July 15, and hotels in the populated centres, including in the capital Malé, on August 1. Visas will be free on arrival, and there will be no compulsory quarantine.
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* An air bubble would enable a limited number of flights to operate from select Indian airports to the Maldives even before Indian airports open to regular international flights. Sixteen international airlines have announced flights to the Maldives from July 15.
* Pranjal Sarmah of 360 Degree World — which is a Maldives tourism and travel agency — says customers ought to have a confirmed booking in any tourist establishment: a resort, a guesthouse, or a hotel. “While the resorts will open from July 15, the hotels situated on inhabited islands, meaning islands with local population, will open from August 1,” he says.
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* Sarmah says sometimes flights land at odd hours, and travellers have to be accommodated in a guest house nearby. These are opening from August 1, but in Male city, these accommodations will be open for transit passengers on their way to resorts.
* Tourists will not be required to submit any medical test results, Sarmah says. “They will, however, be required to submit a health declaration form online, within 24 hours prior to their departure to Maldives.”
* If you are a traveller who has a history of contact with a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or have fever or respiratory symptoms like cough, etc., you are not advised to travel, he adds.
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* All guests will be subjected to a temperature checks prior to boarding a boat or a plane, when they arrive in Male. Only upon confirmation of safety, will a traveller be transported to the resort. Some resorts have given out more specific information, which tourists can find on their official website.
* There are plenty of hotel deals, and travellers can check out the websites. Sarmah says in a few days’ time, deals will go live in different travel portals and platforms. “Once a guest decides in which resort they want to go and stay, they should look into that resort’s site for accurate information on guidelines.” He adds that not all resorts are opening right away, and that they will open gradually in phases.
Depending on the season, guests can do whatever they want in a resort of their choice. In rainy season, for instance (which is around this time), tourists will be able to enjoy a few water sports and other such activities.