As the Maldives gradually reopens to international tourism, the market is adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of the post-Covid-19 world.
Here Breaking Travel News editor, Chris O’Toole, chats with Thoyyib Mohamed, managing director of the Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation, to discover what changes visitors can expect to see in the Indian Ocean destination.
Breaking Travel News: The Maldives reopened the borders on in mid-July. Where do we stand with that process today?
Thoyyib Mohamed: The Maldives borders reopened on July 15th after four months of closure to all international tourists.
During phase one of reopening, resorts and hotels in uninhabited islands and liveaboards were opened for booking starting from July 15th.
Guesthouses and hotels located in inhabited islands will be open for booking starting from early September.
As travel resumes in new normal, safety and hygienic measures have been put in place around the country to ensure the safety and enjoyable vacation for the tourists.
BTN: What initiatives have Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) taken in the Maldives launching in order to support the market as it gradually reopens over the next few months?
TM: With the reopening of the borders on July 15th we started the “Rediscover Maldives… the sunny side of life” campaign to give hope to the visitors waiting for their return to the Maldives.
I am happy to note that we have expanded our presence not only on traditional platforms but also on modern and creative means of raising the destination’s brand through high impact visibility campaigns aligned to “Rediscover Maldives…”
I hope we will jointly keep the momentum for continuous growth of the tourism sector.
We started 2020 with high hopes, but due to this pandemic the tourism industry came to a complete standstill, several of the marketing campaigns were interrupted.
However, we shifted our focus to increase the destination presence digitally and doubled our efforts to maintain Maldives as the top tourist destination, despite the challenges brought with the pandemic.
We will continue to work with the tourism industry stakeholders in promoting the Maldives as the most preferred tourist destination by regaining confidence of travellers in the destination and to revive the tourism industry to what it was before the global pandemic, to reach the set targets by the government.
BTN: The majority of the resorts in the Maldives will gradually open by October. What measures are in place to safeguard visitors from Covid-19?
TM: Our top priority is the safety of our visitors.
Due to the current situation there will be safety measures that we will be taking, such as screening, temperature checks and completing an online health declaration form 24 hours before the arrival.
We will also be following other safety and hygiene measures which will be carried out in accordance with WHO guidelines.
Under the new guidelines, if tourists are symptomatic, PCR testing would be conducted at the airport itself, and the individual would be isolated as specified in the guidelines.
Resorts are required to have resident medical officers on site who have undergone Health Protection Agency (HPA) certified training on Covid-19 management, isolation procedures and sampling.
Resorts are also given the opportunity to develop their own internal guidelines while adhering to basic standards.
Each step of the tourist journey into the Maldives is carefully considered with precautionary measures from arrival to reaching the respective resort up until departure, to cater to the new normal of travel.
Therefore, we can assure you that the holiday experiences we offer will remain at its ultimate best.
Compared to other destinations, the unique geographical formation of the Maldives is a huge advantage in terms of safety, as the country consists of 1,190+ coral islands naturally isolated from each other.
It is no question that Maldives is a world-class holiday destination well-known for its unique one-island-one-resort concept, meaning it is a concept that fits the requirements of today’s travel needs.
The government is constantly working to ensure that tourist operations start with stringent safety guidelines to safeguard the health and well-being of visitors to the country and those who work in the industry.
BTN: Tourism has repeatedly proved itself as one of the most resilient sectors of the global economy – and will recover again. What will make the Maldives one of the most exciting holiday destinations once it fully reopens?
TM: Maldives being the most secluded tropical destination with several luxury tourism brands, and budget offerings has resulted in a reputation as a world class tourist destination.
Resorts are housed on their own island and offer the perfect, private getaways.
With peace of mind and safety being a huge priority right now, tourist properties opened for business have given priority to deliver the services to the tourists which meets the requirements of the new normal.
This helps in reducing the number of direct and indirect contacts, and aid with the implementing safe tourism.
Maldives is a ‘safe haven’ for visitors.
It is one of the safest places to visit in a pandemic environment, due to the measures that are in place and the safety offered by the unique geography of the Maldives and the one-island-one-resort concept.
BTN: The Maldives is nominated for a number of titles at the 27th annual World Travel Awards – what would success in the prestigious programme mean to the destination?
TM: As the World Travel Award is recognised as the ultimate hallmark of the industry excellence, succeeding in the prestigious programme will aid in strengthening the image of the destination.
Winning these awards indicates the visitors’ love and confidence towards the Maldives and will indeed enhance our brand as one of the most preferred holiday destinations.
I would like to take this opportunity and request the travellers who love Maldives to visit the site and vote for Maldives in their respective categories.
To vote for the Maldives in the upcoming World Travel Awards, sign up here.
Voting is open until September 24th.