Maldives welcomes 500,000th tourist, achieves 2020 arrival target
Maldives on Thursday marked the arrival of the 500,000th tourist for the year.
The 500,000th tourist was identified at a momentous ceremony held at Velana International Airport jointly by the tourism ministry, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) and Maldives Immigration.
The 500,000th tourist, Kirstin Madeleine Nittke, arrived from Germany via Emirates.
On arrival, she was identified at the Immigration counter and greeted by a welcoming team. She was then presented with a sash and a flower garland.
She was ushered outside and taken onto a stage where senior officials from the tourism ministry, MMPRC, Immigration and MACL received her. On the stage, there was a festivity of Maldivian cultural activities including live Bodu Beru and Dhandi Jehun by local performers Bidhabin.
Dr Naushad Mohamed, the deputy tourism minister, handed over a special gift — a product from Maldives Wave and the Velaa series from Liyela Collection.
“Today we celebrate the arrival of 500,000 tourists. Surpassing this milestone in this challenging year in advance of the forecasted date is the result of combined efforts of tourism industry partners and the government. It is the result of HEP Solih’s timely decisions backed by the tourism industry partners’ determination to revive our tourism industry,” tourism minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom said.
“Thanks to travel and tourism industry partners, employees, and associations. I take this opportunity to convey heartfelt appreciation to the Health Protection Agency, health professionals, related government authorities, and volunteers for their hard work to brand the Maldives as a safe and secure destination to the international community. A very warm applause to the lovely Maldivians for this remarkable achievement. #TogetherWeCan.”
MMPRC Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed also handed over a special gift, while similar gifts were given by Ibrahim Ashraf, the Deputy Controller of Immigration, and Gordon Andrew Stewart, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MACL.
A holiday voucher of a seven-nights complimentary stay in an Island Villa on Full Board Basis at Coco Bodu Hithi was also handed over by Mohamed Shiham, the resort’s Operations Manager.
“Amid such a pandemic, it is a remarkable feat to keep on achieving such milestones,” MMPRC Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed said.
“We welcomed the 100,000th visitor since the border reopening just a few days ago and today we are celebrating the arrival of the 500,000th visitor for the year. This is, indeed, the result of joint efforts by the entire tourism industry in both the public and private sector. I would like to congratulate everyone for their hard work in making this year such a successful one.”
This was followed by the presentation of a voucher for the first-of-its-kind Covid-19 insurance by Ahmed Shabiq, the General Manager of Allied Insurance.
“On this special occasion I would like to congratulate the 500,000th tourist of 2020 and everyone involved in the tourism industry for achieving this milestone. For decades, Maldives has been famous for its natural beauty and world-class hospitality attracting travellers from around the globe,” Controller General of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain said.
“Despite this global pandemic, we, the Maldives Immigration, dedicate our commitments and full support to harness the tourism industry and move forward to boost our economy.”
The event was held together with the support of industry and media partners, and it concluded with a group photo taken with the tourist alongside all the event partners, followed by a cultural performance.
It is anticipated that the country will reach peak arrival rates during the year of 2021, taking the rate up to 1.5 million tourist arrivals.
“We have great news from the Maldives. We have reached the 500,000th tourist arrival milestone and this is a remarkable achievement which we are all very proud of. So much effort has been put in place for this day and I can honestly say that Team Maldives did exceptionally well in promoting destination Maldives as a safe place to visit. We believe that we have contributed our part in maintaining our high safety standards at Velana International Airport and with our attractive incentive packages to our partner airlines,” Andrew Gordon Stewart, the CEO and Managing Director of MACL, said.
“I would like to continue to assure our guests that Velana International Airport will maintain its high standards of safety until vaccines are successfully administered. The Maldives has already earned international recognition as a great holiday destination and the future looks bright, in fact sunny. Every month our tourist arrivals are increasing, and this is very positive and encouraging, where tourism is the backbone of Maldives. I congratulate our lucky 500,000th tourist this year and I thank all stakeholders who have made the Maldives Dream come true.”
The Maldives reopened its borders on July 15.
With the border reopening, 30-day free on-arrival visa is issued to all tourists with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country.
There is no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival, but tourists have to complete an online health declaration form and provide a negative PCR test result taken at least 96 hours prior to their departure.
Visitors with symptoms of the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or those travelling with someone who has similar symptoms are also tested at their own expense.