Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom announced on Wednesday that while guesthouses in residential islands will be allowed to reopen for international tourists in October, it does not apply to guesthouses located in the greater Male’ region.
In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mausoom said that while the Tourism Ministry will begin issuing permits to reopen guesthouses starting October 15, guesthouses in Male’ City and suburban Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’ will not be allowed to reopen for international tourists in light of the surge in coronavirus cases in the region.
He said that Health Protection Agency (HPA) has advised the Tourism Ministry that guesthouses may be allowed to reopen if the rate of infection in Male’ region drops lower than 5 percent.
Mausoom said that with that decision, guesthouses in Male’ region will be allowed to operate the same as now, as transit facilities.
At the press conference on Wednesday, the Tourism Ministry announced guidelines for reopening of guesthouses. There are requirements which guesthouses as well as local councils need to meet.
Resuming guesthouse business in residential islands will require consent of local councils, based on public opinion. After guesthouses fulfill the necessary requirements, they will initially be issued a conditional permit.
LOCAL COUNCIL REQUIREMENTS:
Guesthouses will be required to present a health and safety plan to Tourism Ministry before then can be granted permission to reopen.
Tourism Ministry is scheduled to hold separate webinars with guesthouses and local councils to discuss the guidelines ahead of October 15.
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 and hotels in residential islands remained closed for international tourists.
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.
Maldives has also mandated negative PCR results for tourist arrivals to stregthen safety measures ahead of guesthouse reopening.