The Maldives reopens its doors to international visitors (including American travelers) on July 15 without restrictions, according to its tourism ministry. Visitors will only be welcomed on resort islands and cruise ships for the first two weeks. Other inhabited islands will be allowed to reopen their guesthouses and hotels on August 1.
Travelers will not have to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival or pay a fee for a 30-day tourist visa. Travelers who do not have symptoms will not be required to self-quarantine. They will need to complete a health declaration card once they land, wear masks and disinfect their hands at the airport, and practice social distancing. All visitors to the Maldives will also undergo heat screening to check for potential fevers upon arrival. Authorities are encouraging travelers to download the TraceEkee app, which can provide contact tracing.
The Indian Ocean destination recommends travelers who are showing symptoms (such as shortness of breath or cough) or who have been in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to their trip to postpone their visit to the Maldives.
People who show symptoms upon arrival at destination will have to pay for a coronavirus test and quarantine at a designated facility or their resort (depending on facility policies). They will be allowed to leave if the test results are negative.
Which resorts are open in the Maldives?
A handful of resorts and private islands in the Maldives are already open, including the Four Seasons Maldives Private Island in Voavah, Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Soneva Fushi Resort, and Velaa Private Island Maldives. More than 30 other popular resorts and hotels in the Maldives, including Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and Cocoon Maldives, are slated to reopen between July 15 and July 25. The vast majority of accommodation in the Maldives will begin welcoming travelers between August 1 and Oct. 1. For more information, see the Ministry of Tourism’s list of tentative reopening dates for resorts.
The latest news of the Maldives reopening is much less restrictive than the guidelines the destination proposed in May, which would have required tourists to commit to a minimum stay of 14 nights, pay $ 100 for a special tourist visa, pay Additional $ 100 for a coronavirus test on arrival and present recent certificates of a negative test for the coronavirus or antibodies. Tourism is the main contributor to the Maldives economy, accounting for two-thirds of its gross domestic product, so the destination has been keen to welcome visitors again.
Should you plan a trip to the Maldives now?
The Maldives are known for their stunning beaches, turquoise coastlines, incredible scuba diving opportunities, and upscale resorts, all of which travelers have dreamed of when crouching at home. Should you book a trip to the Maldives this summer?
American travelers should plan to sit still for now. “Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying at home is the best way to protect yourself and others from illness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The realities of air travel can put you in close contact with others, a problem that is magnified when you consider the roughly 20 hours it takes to get to the Maldives from the east coast of the United States.
The Maldives’ lack of coronavirus testing requirements for asymptomatic travelers has been rightly criticized as “risky” by The Points Guy. People infected with COVID-19 who never have symptoms (or have not yet shown symptoms) may be able to transmit the virus to others, but more research is needed, according to the World Organization of health.
The Maldives had 2,491 cases of COVID-19 in total as of July 7, according to the CDC. The country has two hospitals in its capital, Male, and six other regional hospitals. As of May 10, the Maldives had around 200 ventilators. Since a seaplane is required to reach many private resorts in the Maldives, travelers may find it difficult to quickly get to a place with medical attention in an emergency. Additionally, sick visitors would put additional strain on the local health system in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.
The CDC recommends that Americans avoid all non-essential travel to the Maldives. If they visit the country, they will have to stay at home for 14 days after the end of their trip.
Prospective vacationers should continue to approach travel with caution and avoid taking unnecessary trips. The Maldives will be waiting for you when it’s all over. For now, keep it on your bucket list and stay safe at home.