The Maldives is always warm and wonderful, but tourism plans have gone from hot to cold, and hot again. Now, they’ll change once more.
From abandoned draconian plans to require a minimum 14 night stay, the atoll paradise opened on July 15th to visitors from around the world, including Americans, without restriction. No test needed, no quarantine needed, just come and enjoy.
But now, in an effort to minimize risks during the unknowns of the winter season, the Maldives will require a recent negative covid-19 test before arrival, but will once again allow split stay visits.
Maldives Updated Covid-19 Testing Requirement
Starting for arrivals on September 10th, the Maldives will require a recent negative covid-19 test, taken within 72 hours of departure to Male International Airport. The test must be internationally valid, taken from an approved lab or rapid testing facility. The news was confirmed to GSTP exclusively by Maldivian authorities.
Emirates, a key air carrier to the Maldives already requires a covid-19 test prior to flight, which makes the restriction a formality, rather than addition frustration for travelers on the airline.
Travelers not displaying any symptoms upon arrival into the Maldives will be allowed to carry on to their resort without further restriction, provided they have a confirmed accommodation booking. Any symptomatic travelers will be taken to a testing facility, where they, and those in their group must wait until a negative result is indicated.
Island Hopping: End Of One Island, One Resort Policy
Upon arrival, visitors have needed to stick to one resort. That’s changing. The Maldives previously required all international visitors to stick to one resort, and one island, with no ability to island hop, but will now approve “split stays” between approved locations.
All visitors aiming to use the new split stay offering must submit their proposal to Maldivian Tourism at least two days prior to travel, details of which can be found on the press release.
Requiring a negative covid-19 test is a new step for entry into the Maldives, but not an unreasonable request, by any means. Testing will help to weed out asymptomatic but sick travelers, while increasing certainty that guests in any resort are healthy, and also that those on the plane with them are more likely not to spread the disease.
Resorts in the idyllic atolls are already looking ahead to an expected 100,000 new visitor arrivals before the end of 2020, with early booking discounts of up to 80%.
Rapid testing availability is a key concern to many travelers, and airports around the world are rushing to create easy covid-19 testing facilities, in hopes of cashing in on demand. Partnerships between pharmacies, airlines and governments are underway, including between Boots and the UAE Government to make testing easier and more affordable, at a wider variety of locations.
For now, you’ll need a negative covid-19 test to enter the Maldives from September 10th onward, and that’s probably a good thing.