President: Reopening of border led to economic revival

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks at the reception organized by MATI to celebrate the 50th anniversary of tourism in Maldives on July 17, 2022. (Photo/President's Office)

The decision to reopen Maldives’ borders after the lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic was a good decision which led to economic revival, elevating the country to where it currently stands, states President Ibrahim Mohamed Soli.

He made the remark during a reception hosted by Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) on Sunday evening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of tourism in Maldives.

Maldives had closed its borders on March 27, 2020, and reponed it nearly four months later, on July 15, 2020.

President Solih described the decision to close the borders as a “hard decision”.

He said that his decision to reopen the borders had proved a good decision, despite the fact that he faced some opposition to the move at the time.

In his speech, President Solih credited the position Maldives currently enjoys as a leading tourism destination to the persistence, sacrifices, and hard work of the pioneers of the country’s tourism industry as well as the hard work of the workers of the tourism industry today.

President Solih said the government had always aimed to diversify the tourism industry, and was making necessary legislative changes to make it happen.

He provided assurance the government would provide whatever assistance it can to support the development of the tourism industry.

President Solih said that based on the rapid growth of the tourism industry, one of the biggest challenges was now to increase the capacity of the Velana International Airport.

He said that once the new passenger terminal under development at the airport has the capacity to service 7.2 million passengers annually, and that that, along with the airports being developed in the atolls, will further expand the tourism industry.

President Solih presented awards from MATI to tourism industry pioneers, former presidents who provided valuable service to the tourism industry.

The reception was opened in Kurumba Maldives – the country’s first tourist resort.