With the reopening of borders and resumption of operations of resorts and liveaboards in July 2020, guesthouses also resumed operations in October 2020.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, there are currently 182 guesthouses open across 10 atolls in Maldives. The majority of these guesthouses are located within the greater Male’ region, with a tally of 81, followed by 48 guesthouses in Alif Alif Atoll. 18 and 17 establishments are in Alif Dhaalu Atoll and Vaavu Atoll respectively.
Guesthouses in Baa, Noonu, Haa Alif and Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll have also started accepting reservations.
The local Health Protection Agency and relevant authorities have asserted that wearing masks in public will be mandatory for both locals and tourists in islands where guesthouses have resumed operations, and that guesthouses must be run in accordance with the safety regulations.
All tourists visiting Male’ for more than 48 hours must present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure, and guesthouse employees must undergo testing on a monthly basis.
Overall, guesthouses are required to seek authorisation from local councils prior to submitting an application to the Ministry of Tourism with a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on how the health and safety measures will be implemented.
As per the guideline, guesthouses must have a separate isolation area based on bed capacity for positive cases and close contacts, and flu clinics and designated vehicles for transportation must be present on every island with running tourist establishments.
The Ministry of Tourism, together with Visit Maldives and other stakeholders, have made it a mission to promote guesthouses and local tourism in the future. In this regard, a major portion of marketing activities will be carried out with this in mind for the coming year. It is also estimated that tourist arrival rates will peak, and 1.5 million tourists will arrive within the year 2021.
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