WHO has recently declared a global health emergency for Monkeypox as several cases have been identified from across the world in regions outside of West and Central Africa, where it had initially emerged from. In the face of the Monkeypox outbreak in our top markets including India, how do you think this will affect the Maldives tourism industry and in tourist arrivals to the Maldives?

PUBLISHED August 05, 2022

Abdulla Nasheed
National Hotels & Guesthouse Association of Maldives
From the news I have read, Monkeypox is transmitted via sexual contact. So far, no impact on tourism, this off-season is one of the best with more than 80% occupancy
Maldives is not in the sex tourism industry, especially same sex... I do not foresee much impact that may change if nations panic again.
At this stage it is far too early to say. But my guess is, not much will change. After the past two years of extreme curtailment of movement, I doubt any nation is in the mood to go back to that. Monkeypox is a far less communicable disease and the cure seems to be there. I think countries may ask for travel history and do symptom checks, but we will not go back to the extremes we have seen in the past two years. Maldives just needs to be watchful, not have a knee jerk reaction and ensure protocols are sensible. People coming from high-risk source regions of the virus can have an extra layer of certification or even testing. But not much more can be done.
Suppose the outbreak is severe and becomes a pandemic. In that case, the adverse effects on global travel and tourism industry will be too bad as it is on the verge of recovery from the recent set back. And the Maldives is no exception. Hence, we should have a primary screening of all passengers arriving from infected areas.
Monkeypox occurred in colonies of monkeys, kept for research. African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) harbor the virus and infect people. And occurrence of cases with no direct travel to those infected areas is unusual. Flying to Maldives is safe as we do not have positive cases and Maldives have fish and don’t have such rodents or wild animals. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also said in its guidance that there are no known cases of monkeypox in people seated around them on long international flights. For prevention of Monkeypox, it is recommended not to touch or eat products that come from wild animals. It is also recommended to avoid intimate moments and body fluids with strangers and infected people. Maldives does not sell them hence that shouldn’t be a reason for our arrivals to go down. Perhaps if global numbers keep increasing HPA should ask travelers to board with a Negative Monkeypox certificate to Maldives.