Tourists and Locals Will Soon Have to Pay a Departure Tax to Leave the Maldives
Starting Jan. 1, 2022, travelers to the Maldives will have to pay a departure tax.
If you're traveling to the Maldives next year, be prepared to add one more expense to your budget.
On Sunday, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified a new amendment to the country's Airport Taxes and Fees Act, which introduced a departure tax for any traveler leaving the Maldives beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.
The departure tax is not only for tourists, but for locals as well, and is applicable for any airport in the country. Currently, there is an Airport Service Charge (ASC) in the Maldives, which will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2021, when it will be replaced by this new fee schedule, according to a statement given by the President's Office.
The departure fee is applicable to each passenger leaving the country and will be made in U.S. dollars, according to Raajje, a news outlet for the Maldives. The fee schedule depends on the passenger's residency and the class they are flying.
Residents of the Maldives will only need to pay $12 USD, as long as they are traveling in economy class. Meanwhile, non-residents must pay $30 USD for economy class.
For business class, the fee goes up to $60, for both Maldivian locals and tourists. First-class fees go up to $90 for all passengers, regardless of residency. The fee is $120 USD for those flying on private charter jets, according to Raajje. Airlines will be responsible for collecting these fees.
The new tax will be waived for passengers with diplomatic immunity and children under the age of two, according to the statement from the President's Office.
In addition, passengers flying out of Velana International Airport (MLE), the country's main hub, will need to pay a $25 Airport Development Fee in addition to the new departure tax.
While it may not seem like a lot, it's important to remember when booking your Maldivian vacation. And depending on your party's size, the fees can get quite expensive.
Luckily, there is a way to enjoy this island paradise without going over budget. While you may not find an overwater bungalow for cheap, it's easy to put together an amazing vacation even if you're strapped for cash.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.