COVID Ops: The new normal in the Maldives
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down travel to much of the world. Some nations remained open throughout and others are now re-opening or are accessible via travel corridors. This series will focus on destinations that business aviation operators can currently access and what they’ll encounter on the ground upon arrival.
Accessing the Maldives during COVID
International airports in the Maldives have been open since mid-July. The Maldives peak season is November from January. This time of year is usually dryer and less humid. As one of the few resort destinations in Asia currently open with minimal restrictions and ease of entry for foreign passengers, we anticipate a significant increase in traffic over the coming months.
To help encourage and increase tourism traffic, the country has just launched a new loyalty program.
Maldives Border Miles is a three-tiered loyalty program focused on tourism promotion. Tourists enrolled to this program will earn points for each border crossing. Additional points are rewarded for the visits on special occasions. Once the tourist reaches to a tally of a specific amount of points, privileges are rewarded with amazing benefits. As they move up the tiers, privileges are enhanced, and benefits are made exclusive.
We expect to learn more about the rewards and benefits in the coming weeks and will update this article as needed.
Here is everything you need to know about the “new normal” in the Maldives during COVID.
Who is restricted from entering the Maldives?
The Maldives are completely unrestricted. Foreign nationals, including those from the United States and European Union, are permitted entry.
Note: Officials may modify regulations based on a passenger’s nationality and travel history, and authorities could suspend international travel at short notice.
Passengers can obtain visas on arrival, but must reserve accommodations at either one resort or a maximum of two different approved resorts, where they are to spend their entire time in the Maldives.
There is no mandatory quarantine for asymptomatic travelers, all persons entering the country must submit an online health declaration via the “Imuga” portal within 24 hours before travel.
COVID testing requirements
For arrivals as of September 10, 2020, the Maldives will require all visitors to present a negative PCR certificate that was conducted no more than 72 hours before departing to Maldives. No quarantine procedures are in place, however, tourists should stay at the same resort/island/hotel throughout their entire stay (They cannot move from one island to another).
Health form requirements
All arriving passengers should complete and submit the online Traveller Health Declaration form before arrival (but not exceeding 24 hours before arrival time). lf the passenger has the COVID-19 Negative PCR Test Result document, it must be attached while completing Traveller Health Declaration form. The Traveller Health Declaration form is available from Maldives.
Types of flights operating to the Maldives
The majority of traffic to the Maldives is for leisure with passengers arriving and embarking directly to their resort for the duration of their stay.
Universal Aviation Maldives is our primary ground handler for the Maldives, based at Velana International Airport (VRMM) and covering all islands in the Maldives.
Masks are required in public in the capital, Male’, and residential islands, but not at resort hotels.
What’s life like in the Maldives currently?
As of the date of publication. The Maldives was reporting approximately 1,116 active COVID cases across the country.
Foreign tourists are limited in where they can travel in the Maldives. Only foreign tourists in transit can check into hotels or guesthouses in the Greater Male urban area; others must stay in resorts, where officials may enforce temporary movement restrictions in the event of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
Once inside the resorts, guests are free to move about. Resorts are at limited capacity to help reduce the spread and are taking extra sanitary precautions. While masks are not required for guests, staff wear masks. Some resorts greet visitors with an onsite doctor offering free voluntary COVID testing.
Tourists must have a hotel reservation confirmation for the entire stay in a registered tourist facility. The full list of hotels and resorts and their opening dates can be viewed here on page 20.
Restaurants are open across the country with safety measures and guidelines issued by Health Protection Agency (HPA).
Tourists should stay at the same resort/island/hotel throughout their entire stay (They cannot move from one island to another).
More info on operating to the Maldives
More details on operating to the Maldives can be read in our Maldives Business Aviation Destination Guide.
Thinking about flying to the Maldives?
Our Trip Support Teams are ready to help you plan and manage all the details of your trip – from requirements and feasibility, to planning and coordination. Contact us online, and we’ll provide an estimate for support.