Earlier this week, the Maldives reopened to foreign tourists after months of shutdown. With a target of welcoming back 850,000 tourists by the end of the year, which airlines are flying to the Maldives?
When the Maldives reopened earlier this week, it was a sigh of relief for the archipelago that relies so heavily on tourism. While, naturally, the islands won’t experience the same flocks of people it usually would, it is hoping that with its “Rediscover Maldives…the Sunny Side of Life” campaign, many visitors will return.
Which airlines are flying to the Maldives?
In the northern hemisphere, as schools break up for summer vacation, many airlines are also looking to profit from this lucrative holiday destination. Some have announced schedules to Malé, the capital of the Maldives. What’s pleasantly surprising is the fact that passengers will have a lot of choice and flexibility on their next flight.
Qatar Airways was the first airline back to the cluster of islands with a service from Doha to Velana International Airport on July 15th. 107 foreign tourists and 24 Maldivian nationals arrived at the island on that trip. Qatar Airways will now offer flights daily between Doha and Male.
Two other Middle Eastern airlines are also starting their Maldivian services this month as well. Emirates will be offering five flights a week to Male. The service began on July 16th and will continue until the end of August. Etihad also has some services running but will take a more cautious approach. It’s offering two flights per week from Abu Dhabi to Malé from today until July 28th.
In addition, SriLankan Airlines will offer three weekly flights from Colombo to Malé.
More services to be offered in coming months
More airlines will operate flights to the Maldives later on in the year. From August, Singapore Airlines, Gulf Air, IndiGo, and Hong Kong Airlines will start services to the archipelago. The following month, Edelweiss, the sister company of SWISS, will operate to Malé from Zurich. In September, it will run just five flights from September 23rd. However, it plans to increase its frequency in October with 13 outgoing and 13 return flights between the two destinations.
Furthermore, Turkish Airlines will also open bookings for flights to Malé. In October, it will start offering flights four times a week on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
What are the restrictions on traveling to the Maldives?
Since the Maldives relies so heavily on tourism, it’s been keen to open up with the most attractive proposal to travelers. From July 15th, foreign travelers will be allowed to enter the country without the need for quarantine or negative COVID tests.
In a statement about its reopening, the Ministry of Tourism in the Maldives said,
“Resorts, hotels, and liveaboards located on uninhabited islands are allowed to resume operations from July 15th 2020 whereas hotels and guest houses located on inhabited islands will be allowed to open from August 1st 2020.”
The idea behind the more relaxed rules is that even if COVID-19 transmission began between foreign nationals, it would be easy to trace who they had been in contact with, and they would quarantine within their hotels. It’s evident that the Maldivian government has put a lot of faith in people doing the right thing to curb transmission but also in its ability to mitigate further spreading of the virus.
That said, for any travelers wishing to venture to the Maldives, it’s important to note that restrictions may apply when coming back to their home country. Furthermore, airlines may require negative COVID tests for passengers to board, even though the Maldives doesn’t. As always, it pays to do your research.
Will you be heading back to the Maldives? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.