Emirates ups Maldives service over ‘customer demand’
Emirates is increasing its services to Maldives, in a bid to boost access to the popular Indian Ocean holiday destination this summer.
The Dubai-based airline said Wednesday it would increase its services to the Maldives from the current five a week, to six times a week from August 4 to meet customer demand.
Emirates, which runs the world’s biggest airline by international traffic, resumed services to the Maldives on July 16 after a three-month hiatus in the wake of border closures by the Maldivian authorities to control the coronavirus outbreak.
The island nation welcomed 560 tourists in the first week of reopening.
Flexibility and assurance
With the gradual reopening of borders over the summer, Emirates has revised its booking policies to offer customers more flexibility and confidence to plan their travel.
Customers whose travel plans are disrupted by Covid-19 related flight or travel restrictions, can simply hold on to their ticket, which will be valid for 24 months and rebook to fly at a later time; request travel vouchers to offset against future Emirates purchases; or request refunds via an online form on Emirates’ website or via their travel booking agent.
Emirates currently serves over 60 destinations in its network, facilitating travel between the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific through a convenient connection in Dubai for customers across the world.
Customers from Emirates’ network can now travel to Dubai as the city has reopened for business and leisure visitors with new air travel protocols that safeguard the health and safety of visitors and communities.
Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air. These include the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers.
Maldives reopen for tourists
The Maldives reopened its borders on July 15.
According to guidelines released by the Maldives tourism ministry, resorts and hotels on uninhabited islands as well as liveaboard vessels are now allowed to host tourists (please see a rolling list of resort reopenings here).
Guesthouses and hotels located on inhabited islands will be allowed to reopen on August 1. Passengers on cruise ships and yachts will be barred from disembarking at inhabited islands until then.
Thirty-day free on-arrival visa will be issued to all tourists with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country. The entire holiday has to be booked at a single facility except for transit arrangements.
There will be no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival. Tourists will only have to complete an online 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.
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 3,044.
Fifteen deaths have been reported and 2,398 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.
Photo: @mathindhaaboatu / Aviators Maldives