File photo of vessels for ferrying tourists, Vakarufalhi island, Maldives. (Photo: VCG)
One of the most popular honeymoon spots, the Republic of Maldives is about reopening its border next month, with guidelines for protection against COVID-19.
According to the Minister of Tourism of Maldives Ali Waheed, the country plans to reopen on July 1, with commercial service operated by Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, and tourists visiting from China, India, South Korea and Sri Lanka, and countries in the Middle East.
And visitors arriving by private plane or yacht can enter the Maldives' border from June 1.
The country relies heavily on tourism – accounting for 28 percent of its GDP and over 60 percent of its foreign reserves. But with the border closed to tourists since March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its tourism income is expected to see a huge plummet.
Reported by the Telegraph on May 28, Ali Wahed has announced that the Maldives will set itself apart as a 'safe tourism' destination and a 'COVID-free country' to attract visitors back. Ali states that the Maldives cannot remain closed for much longer and that authorities are collaborating with relevant industry representatives in creating a "Guideline for Restarting Maldives Tourism" from July.
The Maldives currently has travel restrictions in effect for 12 countries, including Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
So far, the country has recorded five deaths and 1,457 COVID-19 cases, the majority of which are in the capital of Male.