Back On The Map: Maldives Reopens To Indian Travelers

After two months, the Maldives has allowed tourists from India and other South Asian countries to return to the archipelago. Starting July 15th, travelers can once again visit stand-alone resorts and islands in the country. Let’s find out more about the entry requirements and why the Maldives is reopening.

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Indian carriers will likely resume their Male in the coming weeks as travel restrictions are eased. Photo: Getty Images

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The Maldives has been relatively conservative with its travel restrictions. The country only banned travelers from India in mid-May, well into the nation’s severe second wave. While access to populated islands was curbed in late April, travelers were still free to visit one of the hundreds of island resorts in the country. However, given the rising evidence of the more transmissible Delta variant, the Maldives banned all Indian travelers from 13th May.

Now, the country once again opening its border to its biggest tourist market. Starting from July 15th, the Maldives will begin issuing visas on arrival to travelers from India and other South Asian countries. This will be a huge boost to airlines, given the popularity of the country during the pandemic, and for travelers hoping to vacation this summer.

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The guidelines for travel will be available in the coming days, although vaccination will not be mandatory. Photo: Getty Images

The announcement came for the Maldives Tourism Ministry on Twitter yesterday. The precise entry restrictions will be announced in the coming days. However, the tweet confirmed that RT-PCR testing will be the only requirement and vaccines will not be mandatory.

Currently, all travelers (and Indians previously too) must arrive with a negative test taken with 96 hours of arrival. However, this time period could be shortened for travelers from India, considering the higher risk. Keep an eye out for the exact requirements in the coming days.

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Key

For the tourism-depended economy of the Maldives, Indian tourists are critical to revenue. The archipelago became a top holiday spot for travelers last year as most other countries maintained travel restrictions. This allowed India to become the Maldives’ biggest market for tourists in 2020 and early 2021 too, according to Rajjee.mv.

The ban on India has hit tourism arrivals in the country, in turn slowing down the economic recovery. Moreover, a recent rise in cases in the Maldives has led to more restrictions in populated areas to curb infections. Now, with cases in India falling to their lowest level since March, the Maldives is ready to open once again.

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Indian airlines have added several new routes to the Maldives in the last year, thanks to high demand. Photo: Airbus

The decision will also be a huge boost to struggling Indian airlines. After nearly three months of falling international flights, the reopening of countries like the UAE and Maldives could spark a recovery of traffic in the coming months. While flights have not been added just yet, expect direct services to the Maldives back on the schedule in the coming weeks.

As the vaccine rollout picks up steam in India, many will be eager to get on a flight and visit the island, especially as domestic curbs remain. For now, keep an eye out for the upcoming rules so you plan your trip!

What do you think about the Maldives’ decision to reopen its borders? Let us know in the comments!

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