The Maldives

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The natural self-isolated paradise of the Maldives is home to various islands that dazzle with sugar-white sand and swaying palm-fringed coral lagoons that are fascinating and unique thanks to the One Island, One Resort concept.

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The Maldives has some of the finest resorts in the world, each located individually on one of several hundreds of coral islands and naturally distanced from cities and crowds. The islands are beautiful, natural, exotic and offer a sense of serenity and adventure.

The sandy shores are surrounded by crystal-clear waters, perfect for activities such as surfing, snorkelling, diving and swimming with the mantas and whale sharks.

Can British travellers go to the Maldives?

The Maldives reopened its borders to international tourists in July 2020, and in October, the country was added to the UK travel corridors list. However since January 18, anyone returning from the Maldives must now self-isolate and show evidence of a negative PCR test before coming back to the UK.

On arrival in the Maldives, all tourists must present a negative PCR test for Covid-19, taken no more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation to the Maldives.

Thermal screening will also be carried out on arrival, and if tourists are symptomatic, they will need to undergo a PCR test and isolation. Tourists who do not exhibit symptoms of Covid-19 will not be subject to any quarantine measures upon arrival to the Maldives.

Any non-tourist travellers, including residents and work visa holders, must self-isolate for 10 days and be tested for Covid-19 on days five and 10.

In September 2020, the Maldives was granted the Safe Travels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council, while Velana International Airport received Airport Health Accreditation by the Airports Council International.

How is the Maldives planning to reopen to tourism?

Resorts, liveaboard boats and hotels located on uninhabited islands were able to reopen from July 2020, while local tourism providers and guesthouses could open on October 15, 2020, provided they could meet certain health standards.

Guidelines are being put in place for the opening of guesthouses which require all tourists departing from guesthouses on local islands to take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to their departure.

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Guesthouses and hotels on locally inhabited islands will be given special permits to accommodate transiting passengers waiting for domestic transfers. Transit arrangements can be made through the primary facility where the stay is booked.

Tourists are advised to check offers and operational status directly with the tourist establishment websites or mobile apps.

Tourists who are visiting the Maldives should book their entire stay in one registered establishment, although the tourism ministry has now started to approve some multi-centre stays or travel between resorts. There are exemptions for transit arrangements.

Before your travel to the Maldives:

  • Travellers who have a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 within the past 14 days and anyone who has fever or respiratory symptoms such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within the past 14 days are advised not to travel to the Maldives.
  • You must have a confirmed booking in a tourist establishment registered with the Ministry of Tourism, prior to travelling.

During your flight:

  • If a passenger has fever, cough or shortness of breath on board the flight, the Health Protection Agency should be informed.
  • All passengers travelling to and from Maldives are required to submit a traveller health declaration form within 24 hours prior to their travel.

On arrival at the airport:

  • All passengers should wear masks and will undergo thermal screening at entry.
  • Tourists travelling to the Maldives will be provided a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival.
  • As of December 16, 2020, travellers will need to present a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 96 hours from the time of departure to the Maldives.
  • Tourists with symptoms of Covid-19 will have to take a PCR test at their own cost.
    • If the result of the PCR test is positive, the tourist may continue isolation at the resort or will be transferred to a designated state-run isolation facility.
    • If the result of the PCR test is negative, the tourist will be released from isolation.
  • Any tourist showing symptoms will have to follow restrictions on attending public places.
  • Physical distancing should be ensured.
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  • Hand sanitisation should be carried out at entry to the arrival terminal.
  • Contact tracing should be done for any travellers with symptoms to identify passengers who were close contacts during the journey. Contacts who are tourists can be quarantined in their destination resorts until the PCR test result of the patient is known.
  • Installing the contact tracing app ‘TraceEkee’ is encouraged for all tourists.
  • If any tourist has a history of contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 within 14 days prior to arrival (as per passenger health declaration card), the tourist must be examined at the airport clinic. If the person is asymptomatic, they will be required to quarantine. If the person is symptomatic, a sample should be taken for PCR for Covid-19 and the patient should be sent to a designated facility for isolation.
  • Local health authorities may conduct random testing at no cost to travellers.
  • All tourists should inform the resort if they test positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of departure from the resort. Split-stay requests and travel between resorts is now being approved and monitored by the ministry, in coordination with the Health Protection Agency. Our number-one priority has always been to ensure our guests and staff are safe, and this is now more important than ever in these challenging times.

Departing from your accommodation:

  • Tourists will have to undergo an exit screening prior to departure from their place of stay.
  • The exit screening questionnaire should document any history of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath within the prior 14 days. Temperature should be checked to exclude fever.
  • Routine testing is not required prior to departure, however during exit screening, if any tourist is found to have fever or symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 within the prior 14 days, they should undergo PCR testing.
  • Testing services are available in the Maldives for tourists who require Covid-19 test results to return to their country of origin or another destination.

Can cruise ships dock in the Maldives?

Cruise ships and yachts are not allowed to embark or disembark passengers on or off inhabited islands. However, embarkation and disembarkation of passengers and crew at international airports (in possession of valid air tickets if disembarking) is permitted.

PICTURES: Ishan @seefromthesky

Last updated January 21, 2021