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Paradise Islands were practically the first in the world to open an international airport for tourists. What to expect upon arrival in the Maldives and how is your vacation going now? The main nuances that you need to know about before the trip.

The coronavirus has made its own adjustments in all areas of life. Including on the paradise islands. The Maldives have shown by their example that post-seeming travel can be safe and enjoyable. After all, the Maldives received the tourism "Oscar 2020" as the best travel destination. Paradise Islands were one of the first in the world to open for tourism: in July 2020. In addition, this is not surprising. Tourism accounts for almost 40% of the island nation's GDP. The travel ban has slowed economic growth and left local residents without bread. If in 2019 the number of tourists increased to almost 15%, reaching a record of 1.7 million people, then in 2020 life came to a standstill. And revenue fell by nearly 25%. But almost a third of the Maldives are employed in the tourism sector.


New rules of entry to the Maldives

The first thing that a current tourist faces is that the rules for entering the country have changed.

The Maldives visa is still issued upon arrival. It is received free of charge for 30 days when crossing the border. But there are new rules for entering the island nation due to the coronavirus.

  • Before the trip, you need to do a PCR test for COVID-19. The certificate must be in English, made no earlier than 96 hours before departure. The test is also required for vaccinated individuals who have antibodies. It must be carried out for everyone, except for children under one year old.
  • If the flight is carried out with a docking at hubs, for example, we are flying through Istanbul or Dubai, then the time countdown starts from the first flight. The help does not need to be printed. The result of the laboratory comes by e-mail: it is worth downloading it. The data will be needed to fill out a health declaration for travel to the Maldives.
  • Upon arrival, you must present a declaration of health. It is filled out on the Maldives state site https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/ethd/create. The questionnaire must include passport details, date and flight number, hotel, answer questions about Covid symptoms and countries visited during the previous two weeks. Attach PCR test data. As a result, the system will issue a QR code. It is he who will need to enter the Maldives. The code should be printed, or it can be shown from the smartphone screen when crossing the border. It is important that you have access to it without the Internet, because there is no free Wi-Fi at Male International Airport. Print out a health declaration with a confirmed negative COVID test.
  • Health insurance must cover COVID: this is a rule required in many countries. The Maldives is no exception. Insurance should cover the risks associated with the possibility of contracting coronavirus. Otherwise, if you fall ill with COVID in the Maldives, you will need to quarantine for 14 days at your own expense.
  • Before returning from the Maldives, if you have stayed on local islands, you need to take a PCR-test.
  • Sometimes this test is required by the airline. Whether or not to take a test depends on the country of entry.

Asad Photo Maldives
Asad Photo Maldives

What has changed at the airport

The first thing that rushes upon arrival is that all the staff are wearing masks at the airport. However, such a sight is not surprising and familiar to all countries of the world. After all, masks are required at the airport or during the flight on the plane. Moreover, both on international flights and on domestic flights.

  • Upon arrival at the Maldives airport, the temperature of the passengers is measured. For this, thermal imaging cameras are located, which automatically screen the temperature.
  • Pay attention to the general condition of passengers. If obvious symptoms of the disease are visible. In this case, the passenger will be taken to a separate room and given a coronavirus test.
  • In the Maldives, random testing of guests for coronavirus is practiced. In this case, the state pays for the procedure.
  • If it suddenly turns out that you are traveling in a group with tourists who have symptoms of coronavirus, then you will have to take PCR at your own expense. And if the coronavirus is confirmed, then quarantine for 2 weeks. All costs associated with quarantine fall on the shoulders of tourists. So don't skimp on insurance. It is necessary to immediately find out whether it covers such risks.


Maldives travel

The Maldives consists of a scattering of islands. All of them are isolated from each other, which prevents the spread of the virus. Travel between the islands is discouraged by the Maldivian authorities in order to control the incidence. And they introduced a number of restrictions.

  • Local island travel is for vaccinated tourists only. For unvaccinated tourists, visits to many of the local islands are also available, provided that 90% of the island's residents and workers are vaccinated. At the moment, 95% of the local islands fit into these conditions, so for most of the local islands you do not need to be vaccinated. A link to the list of islands is here.
  • The transfers between the resort islands have changed. For example, if you want to stay in one hotel and then move to another island, you will have to take the PCR test again. Whether it will be paid depends on the hotel you have chosen. Some hotels allow entry without a PCR test.
  • There are resorts that do not allow a change of vacation between the islands. They can be accessed directly from the airport and back.
  • Moving between the islands is difficult if you want to live a little on the local islands. After staying on a local island, you need to take a PCR test at your own expense.
  • It is also necessary to take a PCR test if you are relaxing on a local island. In this case, you will need to take a test before leaving Male. If it turns out to be positive, you will have to stay in the Maldives for 2 weeks.
  • Rest on motor yachts has changed. Floating hotels equipped with bars, restaurants, bars, swimming pools used to stick to different islands and gave variety to their guests. But now this type of recreation has undergone changes: yachts ply more in the ocean than approach the islands.

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

What are the restrictions in hotels

Most of the hotels have opened in the Maldives. Many resorts have used quarantine for renovations. Many new hotels have also sprung up. In general, more than 150 resorts, about 140 passenger tourist ships, about 400 local guest houses are ready to receive guests in the Maldives.

In hotels, all employees are wearing masks. But your vacation will take place practically without masks. First, you flew in with a test. And secondly, for relaxation, and not for a mask regime. In fact, you will need a mask at the reception and at the entrance to the restaurant. In general, you do not need a mask to use the hotel grounds and also relax on the beach.

Coronavirus restrictions apply to restaurants. The buffets are still generous and varied. But you cannot take food from the tables on your own: you need to ask the waiter to serve you. This is one of the security measures against COVID.

Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa

How did the pandemic affect the local islands

The restrictions did little to affect the usual life on the island. Is that the cafe is more deserted, and some of the establishments were closed. Cafes and restaurants are subject to the same rules and restrictions as in most European countries. You can go to a restaurant or cafe wearing a mask and take it off while sitting down at a table. Self-service in cafes is now not allowed, and in restaurants, tables are set at a distance of at least a meter. But to be honest, not all rules are strictly enforced, especially on the local islands.

Holidays in the Maldives have undergone changes, but they are insignificant and will not interfere with enjoying the paradise islands.

Asad Photo Maldives
Asad Photo Maldives


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