The Maldives government has utilized a total of 10 local resorts as new quarantine facilities to screen and test for the new strand of coronavirus which has become a pandemic globally.
The 10 properties, with a total bed capacity of 2,285 and an estimated 1158 rooms will be used to keep individuals suspected with carrying the COVID-19 virus, or had shown similar symptoms – for quarantining.
Maldives Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed confirmed on the development, attesting ten local resorts have been temporarily transformed into facilities equipped with screening and testing equipment for the viral disease.
The tourist properties, inclusive of hotels include:
- Hulhule’ Island Hotel (HIH)
- Fun Island Resort
- Holiday Island Resort
- Royal Island Resort
- Malahini Kuda Bandos
- Varu by Atmosphere
- Emboodhoo Village
- Velidhoo Island Resort
- Dhiggiri Tourist Resort
- Biyaadhoo Island Resort
Apart from the ten properties, state is currently using Vilivaru as a quarantine facility as well. The island was leased by the government for the development of a tourist resort.
President’s Office Under Secretary and the official spokesperson of the COVID-19 developments in Maldives, Mr Mabrouk Abdul Azeez confirmed state is not incurred a rent on the properties but were given out on aid to combat the viral pandemic.
The viral pandemic that has been spreading globally has placed a significant dent on the Maldivian economy. The island nation, primarily dependent on the tourism industry has slowed down in its economic activity – hitting the lowest in recent history.
Maldives enjoys strong single tourist markets from countries such as China, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. However, the island nation’s government had imposed travel and arrival restrictions on these countries in light of the COVID-19 found present in Maldives.
Arrival and travel restrictions have been imposed on China, Iran, Italy, two provinces of South Korea, Germany, Spain and two areas of France as well.
Meanwhile, flight movements from neighboring India and Sri Lanka dropped significantly, further thinning on foreign arrivals.
Though Maldives government has not declared travel bans on the two neighbors; India and Sri Lanka, there are notable restrictions in travel. Meanwhile, some of the airlines have temporarily stopped traveling to specific areas of India.
India witnessed a staggering jump in its tourist arrivals to Maldives in 2019, which grew by 99% on a monthly basis and registered a growth of 48% during the final quarter of the previous year.
However, as of 2020 the arrival numbers have dwindled as India has cautioned itself strongly against the viral pandemic as positive cases continue to rise.
Maldives recorded an inconvenient 22.8% drop in tourist arrivals for the first 10 days of March 2020 in comparison with the corresponding period in 2019.
Moreover, it was recorded a total of 161,740 bed-nights have been cancelled from 26 January until 12 March 2020.
Earlier, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih bemoaned as he estimated the tourism industry will face an overall decline between 12 to 35% in the current year.
Due to several international airlines temporarily ceasing their flights to several destinations; which coupled arrival figures declining, many of the prominent tourist resort properties have announced they will be temporarily closing shop.
This in turn is expected to throw the island nation’s economy into a recession, which may take a considerable amount of time to recover from.