Tourism Minister calls on Commonwealth to restart safe international travel

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed. (Photo/NEOC)

Maldivian Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has called on Commonwealth countries to recommence international travel.

Speaking in a meeting of senior officials of Commonwealth member countries regarding the debt effects and negative impact on tourism due to COVID-19, Minister Ali Waheed said that the Maldives was expected to face a bigger impact from the virus than the devastating 2004 Tsunami crisis and the financial crisis of 2008. 

The Minister noted the strain on the tourism industry of the Maldives, on which the country was heavily dependent upon, due to the virus. He also noted that the resources of the industry such as tourist establishments were being used to combat the disease and for the protection of the public.

Minister Ali Waheed highlighted the fact that the country was gearing up to reopen and recommence the tourism industry with a set of safety guidelines and protocols that are being formulated right now.

He requested the assistance of the Commonwealth nations in combating the challenges posed to restarting the economic activities. The Minister also requested a policy on inter-travel between Commonwealth countries to be formed for the purpose. 

The importance of international travel for a country such as the Maldives, dependent on tourism was very much stressed by the Minister who called for travel to be recommenced in a safer manner.