Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail said on Thursday that Maldives needs to ease travel restrictions to boost tourist arrivals, and that it can be done without compromising border security.
Fayyaz made the remark while attending the launch of Maldives Immigration’s Strategic Action Plan 2020-2024 on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fayyaz said that a boost in tourist arrivals will be beneficial to Maldives, and that the proposed revisions to Immigration Act was drafted with that in mind, and includes eases in restrictions to boost tourist arrivals.
“We must accept that everything depends on tourist arrivals. We have proposed multiple revisions to the Immigration Act with that in mind. For eases, including in obtaining visas,” he said.
Fayyaz said that the government’s vision to boost the convenience of tourists for travel to Maldives is evident in existing revisions made to Immigration Act.
He said that he believes border security can be maintained despite the easements.
“The government’s thinking is evident in existing revisions made to this Act. It’s as if we are beckoning them to come. It was a “don’t come” previously, with strict policies. The border must be controlled and security must be maintained. But I believe we can find a balance,” he said.
Fayyaz said that everyone needs to back the proposed changes to boost Maldives’ income.
The SAP 2020-2024 launched by Maldives Immigration on Thursday is its first in 12 years.
Controller General of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain (Hanafy) said that the current administration is making significant reforms to Maldives Immigration, and described the launch of its first SAP in 12 years as the foundation for the reforms.
“Problem solving is now done in a whole of government approach. We are working on affairs related to migrants in collaboration with all institutions and ministries,” he said.
Maldives Immigration’s SAP 2020-2024 addresses migrant management, border control facilitation, and immigration reform.