The Maldives has emerged as one of the tourism industry’s biggest success stories amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with the island nation seeing visitor arrivals rebound close to last year’s figures over the same period.
According to official data, some 339,962 tourists have visited the Maldives to date this year up till April 12, compared to the 382,762 arrivals from January 2020 through March 27, 2020, when borders were closed owing to the pandemic. The country reopened its borders to tourists on July 1, 2020 after a near four-month pandemic shutdown.
The ministry said that tourist arrivals have been increasing each month, with 92,103 tourist arrivals in January, 96,882 arrivals in February, and 109,585 arrivals in March. A total of 41,392 tourists visited the country during the first 12 days of April.
The uptick in arrivals puts the Maldives on track to reaching its target of 1.5 million arrivals for this year. The country recorded a total of 555,399 arrivals in 2020, lower than the 1.7 million in 2019, but much higher than the targeted 500,000 for the year.
There is no quarantine requirement for arriving tourists, who are only required to show a valid negative PCR test result upon arrival. Visitors are whisked away from the international airport by seaplane or luxury speedboat to their island resort many kilometres away from the capital city.
Amid the pandemic, India has emerged as the Maldives’ top source market, accounting for 23 per cent of the total tourist arrivals, followed by Russia, Ukraine and Germany. China, traditionally the country’s largest tourist source, has shown fewer arrivals due to restrictions placed on outbound travel.
Meanwhile, according to official sources, 57 per cent of the Maldives population of over 530,000 people have received the first Covid-19 jab. As of April 12, the country recorded 25,701 Covid-19 infections and 66 deaths.