MATATO launches survey to identify relief options for Maldives travel agents
Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has launched a survey to identify ways to provide relief to local travel agents and tour operators amidst the economic downturn caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, MATATO said it had already initiated negotiations with the government to secure a stimulus package for local travel agents. The survey will help the association gather data requested by the government, it added.
“We would appreciate if you would let us know how well we can meet your needs by completing the survey form. We appreciate your assistance and look forward to receiving your response,” the statement read.
The survey can be accessed here.
On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.
Eleven more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels — have since been identified. All the patients are under isolation, being treated at designated quarantine facilities.
Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on Thursday, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.
The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including a 14-day ban on inter-island travel of tourists, including for excursions and between resort islands.
A nationwide shut down of all guesthouses and city hotels has also been ordered.
The Maldives had closed its borders to arrivals from some of the worst-hit countries, including mainland China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Visitors from three regions of Germany (Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg), two regions of France (Île-de-France and Grand Est) and two regions of South Korea are also banned from entering the country.
Cruise ships had also been banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.
All direct flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and Iran had also been cancelled.
The island nation had installed thermal screening cameras at its international airports.
Quarantine facilities, including designated islets from the 1,192 islands that make up the archipelago, had also been established.
The global coronavirus outbreak is expected to hit the Maldivian economy hard, as tourism contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.
The government has already announced several cost cutting measures, including a freeze on the hiring of new staff and suspension of non-essential travel by state officials.