Guesthouses to reopen on October 15

A guesthouse located in K. Dhiffushi. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

The government has made the decision to allow guesthouses in residential islands to reopen for international tourists on October 15.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Tourism Ministry announced that the government will permit guesthouses to resume operations starting October 15.

“The issuing of permit will be based on consent from Island Council and criteria and guideline by HPA and HEOC,” said Tourism Ministry in its tweet.

Tourism Ministry said it is scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday to provide more information regarding the reopening of guesthouses.

Maldives reopened its borders for international travel after a near three-month lockdown on July 15. Tourist resorts and liveaboard vessels were allowed to resume operations, while guesthouses remained closed for international tourists.

However, several guesthouses and hotels in the greater Male’ region have been allowed to reopen as transit facilities.

Guesthouses are the primary source of income for many local communities. And guesthouse operators, who are under great financial strain, have expressed concern over the continued closure of guesthouses, especially through the summer holidays – a high income period for guesthouses.

Guesthouses were originally scheduled to reopen on August 15, put it was postponed in face of a surge in coronavirus cases following the relaxation of lockdown measures in the greater Male’ region – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives.

Many guesthouses had already taken bookings when the decision  to postpone the reopening of guesthouses was announced, resulting in the bookings having to be cancelled.