The Maldives is Mulling Reopening July 1, 2020 with Stringent New Requirements for both visitors and resorts. Yachts and private jets may be allowed in earlier, in June, although for significant fees: chartered flights and private jets would be charged a $50,000 landing fee, while super yachts would be charged $10,000.
So far the Maldives has recorded just over 1600 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 5 deaths. The country restricted travel into the country from virus hot spots including China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Spain, the UK, parts of France and Germany, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
As with other tropical destinations, such as Hawaii, the Maldives aims to restart tourism as safely as possible, keeping out coronavirus cases to the greatest extent possible. The following are still draft proposals, and would be eased in some fashion starting September 1, 2020, unless extended by the government.
- Prior confirmed booking of at least 14 nights at a resort with a Safe Tourism License
- Submission of valid travel insurance with medical coverage for the entire duration of the stay
- Special Tourist Visa, with a cost of $100 per person, will be required for all travelers (instead of the current visa on arrival which most travelers qualify for). The Special Tourist Visa will only be granted to tourists committing to a minimum 14 night stay (must be at a single resort).
- Visitors must have a negative PCR test result dated no more than 7 days prior to landing in the Maldives, or a positive antibody test dated no more than 14 days prior to arrival.
- Additionally, all visitors will be tested at the airport with a PCR test, which will cost $100 per person
Transfers to Maldivian Resorts
All aircraft, speedboat, and other vessels will need to leave alternate seats vacant (presumably this will not be required for a couple traveling together). Masks are required on all passengers and staff.
At Maldivian Resorts
- Guests will be required to quarantine in their room until the results of their PCR tests arrive. Since results in some cases take 24 hours, that means staying in and around one's villa, although at least in Maldivian luxury resorts such as Cheval Blanc Randheli, Joali, and Velaa, that's not such a hardship, especially if you're in a water villa and/or have your own private infinity pool.
- All Safe Tourism licensed resorts have a resident doctor and nurse
- Staff are trained on using PPE, safe distancing, disinfection procedures
- Resorts dedicate 10% of guest villas/rooms for isolation purposes
It's understandable that The Maldives, which earns 28% of its GDP from tourism, primarily luxury tourism, wants to invest in measures that will identify it with safe tourism, where wealthy visitors can feel confident that their health is protected. From that standpoint it makes sense that entry requirements will include a PCR test and that guests will need to quarantine until the results are provided.
But the 14 day stay requirement will be problematic for many visitors, since a typical length of stay at a single resort, at least for the luxury resorts we book for clients, is about 1 week, less often 10 nights. Perhaps the government wants to ensure that clients have the time and the money to stay for 14 days in case they do test positive (even if they are asymptomatic) and need to be quarantined for that entire stay period, but the 2 week period will be a non-starter for most. We suspect that will either be adjusted in the final plan, or it will only be in place for the first few months, as the Maldives reopens slowly to the most desirable visitors, with the time and money to meet the 14 day requirement. If all goes well, the government would then loosen restrictions September 1, 2020.
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