First it was one way, then it was the other, but now – the Maldives will officially open to foreign visitors July 15th, 2020 and there isn’t nearly as much red tape involved as one might have suspected just a few weeks ago.
From plans which would’ve made the tourist driven nation one of the most restrictive on earth, the Maldives adapted and changed to policies which are just the news many seeking a socially distanced getaway on a private island atoll where hoping for. Before you go, you just need to pick a hotel…
Maldives New Tourism Rules
As part of the first phase of reopening to tourism on July 15th, the Maldives naturally has a few rules. Mainly, you can’t island hop. You must pick a hotel and stick with it, and you’ll need a confirmed booking before you’ll ever be allowed into the country. Fortunately, the Maldives dropped plans for a 14 day stay requirement, so short stays are just fine and no quarantines will be mandated.
The key distinction is whether you’ll be staying in a private island resort, or whether you hope to visit an inhabited island where locals live, like Male. Hotels on “inhabited” islands will open for travel two weeks later, on August 1st rather than July 15th, when all uninhabited island hotels will open.
Who can visit the Maldives from July 15th? Pretty much anyone who can get there, and free visas on arrival will be issued. There are no notable country exceptions as of the time of writing, which means it’s even potentially possible for Americans right now, and certainly a go for visitors from Europe, Asia, Middle East, Pacific and beyond.
— Ministry of Tourism (@MoTmv) June 23, 2020
Any Covid-19 Testing Requirements To Enter The Maldives?
Covid-19 testing? Nope, you won’t be required to submit a covid-19 test in advance of travel to the Maldives, and travelers not displaying any symptoms won’t be asked to submit to any testing on arrival, though the Maldivian Government leaves the door open for the potential of random testing. Any random testing is at no cost.
A health declaration is presently all the country is asking for. You can read the full entry info here.
Here’s the interesting part though: those that “display covid-19 symptoms” will be made to take a PCR test at their own expense, and that exact expense has not yet been specified. Judging by other countries, one could expect a $100 fee, but the vague applicability of showing “symptoms”could be rife for abuse.
If someone, as many do, find themselves sweating while waiting to get off the plane, is that going to trigger a test? The good news though – testing will be available to departing travelers. The testing, administered at a cost to travelers will allow those returning, or carrying onto countries which do require advanced testing prior to boarding a flight the opportunity to produce a recent covid-19 result certificate.
One Extreme To The Other
When circa 90% of all government revenue is derived from tourism and a vast percentage of national GDP, an equilibrium must be reached to ensure local safety, but also not create so many hurdles that visitors never return. It appears the Maldives has gone from one extreme, with previous iterations including multiple tests and 14 night minimum stays, to the other.
The Maldives without question is one of the best destinations for outdoor and socially distanced activities, with most resorts operating on a suite or villa only basis and most activities taken outside or under the sea, including meals. It may be risky, but it may pay off…