Maldives says efforts underway to secure bookings surge in post-coronavirus tourism recovery

Maldives is adapting to the changing business conditions in a bid to ensure a surge in bookings once the novel coronavirus outbreak peaks, the popular holiday destination’s tourism promotion chief said Wednesday.

In a message sent to industry partners, Thoyyib Mohamed said his team at the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) was working despite a government shutdown to assist the industry.

MMPRC will strengthen its efforts with its PR representatives across the globe, he added.

“During this difficult time, our team is working hard on adapting to the changing environment, to keep Maldives visible and ensure there is a surge in bookings when the pent-up demand is released,” the message read.

“From myself and the team, I would like to personally thank you for your continued support in promoting the Maldives. I am confident that by adopting such practices together, we will be able to protect our community, save our tourism and continue to move forward.”

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.

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