Indian tourists banned from Maldivian guesthouses, hotels

Tourists take a stroll down a street in K. Maafushi, a residential island popular for local tourism. (File Photo/Sun/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

Maldives has strengthened travel restrictions amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in neighboring India, imposing a temporary ban on Indian tourists from checking in to hotels and guesthouses in residential Maldivian islands.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) released an order signed by Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakr on Sunday afternoon, which lists new restrictions for travel from India to Maldives.

The restrictions take effect on Tuesday, April 27.

With the new restrictions, tourists from India also need to produce proof of a negative PCR test when travelling to Maldives.

Additional restrictions:

  • Travelers from India to Maldives and those who have resided in India (including those who have spent over 24 hours in transit in India) are required to present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 92 hours before when entering Maldives. This includes those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Maldivian citizens and work permit holders who arrive in Maldives from India, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, are required to get a PCR test done within 24 hours upon arrival, and undergo 10 days of quarantine. They will be released from quarantine once they test negative upon completion of the quarantine period. This does not include children under the age of one year.
  • Indian tourists are required to undergo a PCR test prior to departure from Maldives.

While Indian tourists will no longer be permitted to check in to hotels and guesthouses in residential islands starting April 27, those already checked in to hotels and guesthouses will be allowed to stay at such facilities for the duration they made their bookings for.

The restriction also does not apply to resorts and hotels located away from the local population.

The restrictions on travel from India comes as the country faces the world’s worst COVID-19 surge, with hospitals overrun with patients and out of oxygen. Many have called for Maldives to suspend tourist arrivals from India until the outbreak is under control.

India is the top source of tourist arrivals to Maldives. Tourism Ministry statistics show India makes for 22 percent of the source market.

Tourist arrivals from India have begun to slowly drop since the situation in the country worsened. Daily tourist arrivals from India have dropped from 800 to 600, and daily tourist arrivals overall have dropped from 3,500 to 3,000.