The Maldives’ New Travel Restrictions Are Going to Make Visiting the Country Even More Expensive

Travelers will have to stay a minimum of 14 days and undergo testing on arrival.

Aerial view of overwater bungalows in the Maldives
Photo: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

The Maldives are famous for being one of the most expensive vacation destinations in the world. But the archipelago could get even more expensive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the Ministry of Tourism stated that the Republic of the Maldives is considering reopening to international tourism as early as July 1 — but it would come with some major rules and regulations. Mainly: visitors would be required to book vacations no shorter than 14 days.

Tourism minister Ali Wahed detailed the potential plan to The Telegraph. Travelers willing to spend two weeks in the Maldives would have to apply for a tourist visa ahead of their visit, which will cost $100. They would also have to purchase travel insurance for their trip and will need to submit either a negative antigen test or a positive antibody test a week before their arrival. When they arrive in the Maldives, they would have to pay another $100 for another test and they would be quarantined in their rooms until the test results come back, which could take anywhere from three to 12 hours (which, admittedly, wouldn’t be torturous if you’re in one of the country’s famous overwater bungalows).

There are about 200 resort islands throughout the Maldives, most of which remain closed at this time. About 26 resorts, or 3,000 rooms, have been repurposed by the government for quarantine or isolation purposes during the coronavirus lockdown. And about 10 resorts are housing foreign visitors who believe it safer to remain in the Maldives than to return home.

The country has been closed to foreign arrivals since March 27, which has taken a significant toll on its tourism-reliant economy. But even if the Maldives reopen this summer, Americans might not be able to visit. The country currently has travel restrictions against 12 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and China, according to the tourism website. (But if you’ve been on a private yacht for a few weeks before arrival, you could likely enter the Maldives this summer without problem.)

The government could reopen its borders to regional traffic from Asia in the third quarter of 2020 and arrivals from Europe could be re-welcomed by October or November, according to TTG Asia.

During their coronavirus outbreak, the Maldives have so far reported 1,457 confirmed cases and five deaths.

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