98125629 - overwater villas on the tropical lagoon, maldives islands

Update: the Maldives has rolled back this concept, and is now set to welcome travelers without restrictions from all over the globe, from July 15th. Read up on the latest entry info here.

The Maldives doesn’t want tourism back – it needs it. The Atolls which make ocean villas look like swimming pools are a familiar face to every luxury traveler, but if you want to see them again, “ultra luxe” may be the new term. According to the Telegraph, Tourism Minister Ali Wahed has a few ideas which make exotic getaways to the Maldives more like extended residencies, and not without a few shocking fees either!

Like many countries around the globe, the Maldives is eager to safely reboot tourism, without risking a second wave of infection. The country was already in news amid covid-19, with one of the few silver linings to emerge from the saga, when travelers were being quarantined in five star resorts with full board. The idylic place to be stuck provided some of the few lighthearted moments the travel world has experienced in months.

Looking to restore confidence, Maldivian Tourism Minister Wahed is proposing a few slightly radical ideas for the anticipated July 1st reopening of international visitors, many of which fundamentally change the experience. The first shocker: you can only receive approval for the new $100 visa to visit the country, which must now be done in advance, if – and only if – you are staying for 14 days or more.

If that doesn’t sound challenging enough, you’ll also need sufficient travel insurance to cover against covid-19. It might be easier to become a SpaceX astronaut in the near term than to arrange reasonably priced covid-19 travel insurance for the foreseeable future.

98125629 - overwater villas on the tropical lagoon, maldives islandsIf that still hasn’t bowed you out, the last few restrictions probably won’t either, and may I say, respect to you for your resiliency to spend large sums of money. Before being allowed to board a flight for your 14+ night holiday in the Maldives, you’ll need an antigen test, or proof of antibodies showing that you’ve had and recovered from covid-19, or don’t actively have it in your body. Naturally, this sort of testing costs money.

When you arrive in the Maldives, you’ll need to pay for another test, at an estimated cost of $100, and wait around in a closed off facility for the up to 12 hours it takes for results to be faithfully delivered. Might as well make it 15 nights then, right? At least hotels in the Maldives are generally reasonably priced. Wink, wink…

With any hope, these are the initial offers expressed by the Maldives to gauge public interest in future visits based on these levels of protocol. The country, which relies almost entirely on tourism, is desperate to open, but is clearly being pragmatic in risk. With this level of pragmatism though, the country just may want to hold off on opening at all, because only the 1% of 1% are going to be able to swing this, and unless that’s the point…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. Was not aware of this development.

    Have travel booked to Maldives in QSuites in for a 5-night stay in mid-September, and I certainly do not meet the 1% out of 1% criteria. 🙂 Already had no choice but to forgo Etihad Apartment booking from AUH to JFK in May, so would be a bummer to miss out 4 months later, but safety is of course a top priority.

  2. I’m travelling in January have BA 1st out and biz back. Only booked for 12 nights, what’s the chances of this changing by then?

  3. I have travel to Maldives booked for November….staying for 8 nights. No way we could change it and stay for 2 weeks. Flying in QSuites for the first time so would hate to think we might have to cancel the trip 🙁 Still quite a while to go til then so we’ll see what happens but I‘m hopeful these crazy ideas are either not implemented or drastically changed soon enough and that the virus is much more under control by then…fingers crossed.

  4. It might be that “that’s the point.”
    If you ask me, I think that’s a very elitist way of reopening a country, but Maldives has never been a destination for the poor…

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