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Soneva-funded lab at Maldives airport licensed to offer tourists coronavirus tests

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A laboratory to test tourists for the novel coronavirus at an international airport in an ultra-luxury tourism zone in the northern part of Maldives has been commissioned.

Soneva, which owns luxury resorts in the Maldives, funded the set-up at the airport located on the island of Maafaru in Noonu atoll.

ADK Trade and Shipping was contracted to build the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) lab.

“The new PCR lab at Maafaru International Airport is fully commissioned and ready for operation,” ADK Trade and Shipping said, in an announcement.

“This project we undertook for Soneva Hotels took us 30 days to complete from ordering equipment, physical infrastructure construction to final set-up.”

Soneva currently runs two resorts in the Maldives: Soneva Fushi in Baa atoll and Soneva Jani in Noonu atoll. The world-leading luxury resort operator also operates luxury yacht Soneva in Aqua in Maldives, and Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand.

Despite a lab being established at the Maafaru airport, tests will be voluntary.

When the Maldives reopens its borders on July 15, there will be no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival. Tourists will only have to complete a health declaration form.

But visitors with symptoms of the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or those travelling with someone who has similar symptoms will be tested at their expense.

Meanwhile, airport operator Island Aviation Services (IAS) is readying the Maafaru airport for international arrivals.

The Abdu Dhabi-funded international airport was specifically developed to cater to high net worth individuals who want to arrive there directly and travel to one of the ultra-luxury resorts in the atoll for their holiday.

But the airport lacked the required equipment, as well as customs and immigration capabilities to handle international arrivals.

Aviation authorities in Maldives are exploring the possibility of allowing private jets to directly land at airports other than the main airport, as the island nation anticipates luxury travellers to be the first to visit when it reopens its borders.

Velana International Airport is the main port of entry for private jets at the moment, but once cleared they can fly to other airports that can cater to private jets.

The government has not singled out the other airports being considered for private jet landing, but it is likely that the Maafaru airport will be permitted to cater to jets.

The coronavirus outbreak has hit the Maldivian economy hard, as travel restrictions and other preventive measures affect the country’s lucrative tourism industry, which contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.

Before the pandemic, the government had been bullish about tourism prospects, targeting two million, high-spending holidaymakers this year after last year’s record 1.7 million.

However, only 382,760 tourists visited the Maldives before the country closed its borders on March 27. It was a 40.8 per cent decline over the 646,092 that visited the Maldives from January to March last year.

With arrival numbers falling, several resorts across the Maldives had been closed.

Tourism has been the bedrock of the Maldives’ economic success. The $5 billion-dollar economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2018 with tourism generating 60 per cent of foreign income.

However, the government is at present projecting a possible 13 per cent economic contraction this year — an estimated $778 million hit.

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.

Eighteen more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except five Maldivians who had returned from abroad — were later identified.

A six-case cluster of locals, detected in capital Male on April 15, confirmed community transmission of the coronavirus. Several more clusters have since been identified, bringing the total number of confirmed case in the Maldives to 2,501.

Twelve deaths have been reported and 2,158 have made full recoveries.

The Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.

The public health emergency declaration allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including stay-at-home orders in capital Male and its suburbs, a ban on inter-island transport and public gatherings across the country, and a nationwide closing of government offices, schools, colleges and universities.

Non-essential services and public places in the capital such as gyms, cinemas and parks were also shut.

Restaurants and cafes in the capital were asked to stop dine-in service and switch to takeaway and delivery.

A nationwide shutdown of all guesthouses, city hotels and spa facilities located on inhabited islands was also ordered.

These measures allowed authorities to contain the outbreak.

The restrictions are now being eased in phases, with the third phase measures now active.

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Maldives Madridistas: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands Nets Exclusive Football Camp Partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation

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Younger guests at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands can embrace new patterns of play this summer at an exclusive, Maldives-first Real Madrid Foundation football camp. From 4 July – 12 August, a youth coach will lead a comprehensive Real Madrid Foundation programme of daily soccer sessions for ages 5-9yrs, 10-14yrs, and 15-17yrs. The coach will be joined by an elite player ambassador from UEFA’s all-time no. 1 ranked football club toward the end of the programme.

This summer’s inaugural Patina Maldives x Real Madrid CF Foundation football camp is the first edition in an ongoing partnership, with additional future football camp dates to be confirmed. Led by a licensed Real Madrid Foundation coach, sessions will focus on developing each participant both individually and as part of the group, in order to ‘Play The Real Way’ – the training methodology that combines play, as well as sports values.

Sessions will take place on a new, purpose-built 6 a side astroturf pitch located near the Fari Marina Village at Patina Maldives.

All participants will receive an official camp football camp shirt, shorts, socks, drawstring bag, sweatbands, and cap; while those completing a minimum of four days’ coaching will also be presented with a Real Madrid Foundation participation certificate.

Real Madrid Foundation football clinics at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands are priced at USD195++ per child per session for guests of the resort. Bookings are also open to guests from neighbouring resorts, from USD250++ per child per session.

Rates at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands start from USD2,054 (approx. GBP1,620) per night based on two adults sharing a One Bedroom Pool Villa including daily breakfast, complimentary Guest Benefits, tax, and service. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information and reservations, please visit https://patinahotels.com/maldives or contact reservations.maldives@patinahotels.com. For more information on Pathways, please see here.

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A blissful island Easter celebration at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives

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Experience unique and enriching getaways at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, as the luxury resort unveils exciting benefits for family getaway packages launching this season. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the ethereal charm of the Maldives.

Nestled in the pristine Raa Atoll, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives seamlessly blends eco-friendly architecture with contemporary sophistication, complemented by the untouched, rugged beauty of the Raa Atoll. Situated amidst miles of untouched marine life, Alila Kothaifaru invites guests to reconnect with nature in the most extraordinary ways. With spacious villas and private pools, guests can truly experience the essence of a getaway where luxury and adventure harmoniously coexist.

Surrounded by azure skies and the turquoise waters of the Raa Atoll, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives offers an idyllic setting for a family escape during the Easter break. Here, guests can unwind in luxurious, nature-immersed surroundings, embark on exciting adventures together, and indulge in unforgettable wellness and culinary experiences.

During Easter weekend, Play Alila will delight young guests with a diverse range of festive island-inspired activities, including Easter egg decorating, arts and crafts, face painting, and more. For those seeking relaxation, Spa Alila offers enticing packages for parents and children to enjoy quality bonding time.

For the adventurous souls, do not miss the chance to join our Sparkling Underwater Egg Hunt. Hidden throughout one of our nearby dive sites, these eggs hold a special surprise. The lucky diver who discovers the egg with a unique mark will win an exclusive clutch made of Swarovski crystal valued at EUR 1,800!

Embark on an Easter journey to remember at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives. Explore all of the Easter events and activities at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives here 

Family Getaway Package

  • Booking Period: Until 30 October 2024
  • Stay Period: Until 25 December 2024

Experience a family holiday rich with memorable moments. From nature walks to energetic beach activities, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives’ offerings extend to the whole family. Indulge in a host of fun adventures together, or relax while your children participate in creative indoor and outdoor activities. Enjoy special family welcome amenities upon arrival, return seaplane transfers, daily full-board meals, and a special offer on wellness treatments. Experience the beauty of our island while creating lasting memories to be treasured!

Stay with us during the Easter period from 25-31 March 2024 and be treated to a wide range of festive island inspired activities such as Easter egg decorating, arts and crafts, egg hunting around the island and underwater, wellness offering, and many more!

For more information and reservations, please contact kothaifaru@alilahotels.com or visit alilahotels.com

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Love’s Oasis: Siyam World Invites Couples To Celebrate And Embrace Romance On White Valentines’ Day

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Romance never ends, get ready to swoon, Siyam World is pulling out all the stops to make this White Valentine’s Day one for the books.  Nestled in the heart of the Maldives, Siyam World invites couples to indulge in a whirlwind of romance and adventure on March 14th, 2024.

Internationally acclaimed DJ Youna will headline the evening’s entertainment, enchanting guests with her signature blend of melodic techno and progressive house music. Against the backdrop of the Maldivian night sky, guests can dance under the stars and create cherished memories with their loved ones. DJ Youna, the rising star of melodic techno and progressive house, is set to serenade you and your beloved under the starlit skies of Siyam World.

YOUNA, an emerging DJ/Producer specializing in melodic techno and progressive house, hails originally from South Korea. Her musical trajectory took an unforeseen turn upon her relocation to Dubai, where she developed a profound affinity for house music—a genre less prevalent in the Asian music landscape. Dedication to refining her craft led YOUNA to cultivate a distinctive sound, skilfully merging emotive melodies with the infectious energy of her compositions.

Despite embarking on her production and DJing journey in 2022, YOUNA has swiftly ascended to prominence on the global music scene. Her debut single, ‘Self-Doubt,’ ascended to the top 14 in progressive house and secured the 4th position on Beatport’s hype chart. YOUNA’s music, characterized by potent beats and evocative soundscapes, transcends cultural boundaries, dismantling barriers and creating a harmonious fusion on the international stage. Get ready to dance the night away and create memories that will last a lifetime with DJ YOUNA

Siyam World has also curated a line-up of experiences that will make your heart skip a beat. Dive into the culinary wonders of the Maldives with our Maldivian Culinary Workshop at Kaage, where you will learn the secrets of local cuisine from our talented chefs.

Treat your special someone to a Destination Dinner or a Special Romantic Dinner, complete with a romantic movie screening to set the mood. And for the ultimate indulgence, why not enjoy a Wine Cellar Dinner? Gift your loved one with chocolates and flowers made available for this special day. Sip on mimosas and savor delicious bites while soaking in the breath-taking views of Siyam World.

Mark your calendars, lovebirds, because White Valentine’s Day at Siyam World is going to be one for the books! Book your romantic getaway now and get ready to fall in love all over again.

For more information, visit Siyam World or follow on InstagramFacebookTwitterTikTok or YouTube. For booking enquiries email: stay@siyamworld.com.

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