Maldives’ main airport extends operating hours amid peak tourist season

Operations at the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport (VIA) will now begin at 5am to accommodate increased traffic during the peak tourist season, the airport operator announced Sunday.

From now till January 31, 2022, VIA’s runway operations will begin from 5am to allow for additional domestic and general aviation flight during the peak New Year holiday period.

Until Sunday, the runway had been closed daily from 12-6am for runway maintenance.

With the mid-year school break falling on the New Year period, many locals are going overseas and travelling within the country, while visitor arrivals to the nation have also peaked as the Maldives hopes to end the year with strong arrival figures.

According to the latest tourism ministry numbers, more than 100,000 visitors had visited the nation this month alone. According to the report, 113,367 visitors have arrived in the nation so far in December, making this the seventh month this year that tourist arrivals have topped the 100,000 level.

Maldives achieved its annual tourist arrival target of one million in October and is on course to welcome 1.3 million tourists by year end.

Maldives reopened its borders for tourists of all nationalities on July 15, 2020, with rigorous procedures in place to ensure the safety of tourists and tourism workers.

Tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to their departure, as well as have a negative PCR test result, conducted 96 hours prior to their departure.

In order to strengthen the measures, the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine was initiated on February 1 with the government of Maldives set to provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all citizens and residents of the country in the upcoming months.

Visit Maldives together with the tourism ministry has also launched the “I’m Vaccinated” campaign in order to share a positive message regarding the vaccination of staff working in the tourism sector as well as promoting the initiatives undertaken to ensure the Maldives remains one of the safest destinations in the world for travellers.

The ultimate target is to make Maldives the destination with the first fully vaccinated tourism sector in the world.

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