There are many things travellers took for granted up until 2020. The ability to jet 8,000 kilometres just to dangle your feet off an overwater bungalow (with the sound of a bath running in the background) is just one of them.
On that note, if recent events are sapping your soul, we have some news you may find soothing.
While around the world, The Pandemic has bankrupted hotels, restaurants, bus operators, and car rental agencies, and sucked an estimated 100 million people out of work, it has also sparked innovation.
The work from home revolution has been fast-forwarded by 10 years, men’s grooming has hit milestone after milestone and The Maldives has found a way to help tourists bypass the boredoms of quarantine.
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Regularly listed in rankings of “the world’s most luxurious destinations,” this island nation’s ruffled waters and Instagram-perfect bungalows epitomise opulence.
But if you have to quarantine for 14 days in the airport, or in a grimy city hotel, it’s not exactly the trip many would be inspired to take.
The Maldivian authorities, however, have come up with a solution that will help travellers enjoy a trip to the Maldives without spending the whole time counting ceiling tiles.
As CNN Travel reports, “though border restrictions and quarantine measures are keeping people from visiting many of the world’s most popular travel destinations at the moment, one country famed for its natural beauty is now welcoming all guests – the Maldives.”
“As of July 15, this island nation in the Indian Ocean is reopen to international tourism.”
Most intriguingly; as CNN Travel puts it, “perhaps remarkably,” very few strings are attached, too. International holidaymakers – US citizens included – will not have to undergo a mandatory quarantine upon arrival at Velana International Airport in the capital, Male, nor produce proof they have tested negative for coronavirus.
“There are also no new visa requirements or additional fees to pay.”
A brave move, one might argue, considering the skyrocketing confirmed cases in the US right now.
The logic behind the move is hard to argue with though: the idea is that international visitors, for now, will only be permitted on the resort islands and they must book their entire trip in one registered establishment.
“One island, one resort.”
Exemptions will only be made for transit arrangements, the Maldives government guidelines state. In terms of pandemic prevention, tourism officials, according to CNN Travel, “are banking on the fact each resort essentially offers its own form of quarantine already – albeit a pretty enjoyable one.”
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The Maldives, which is comprised of 26 atolls filled with over 1,000 islands, spread over 90,000 square kilometers, is arguably tailor-made for this kind of approach.
CNN Travel reports, “Most of the islands in the Maldives developed for tourism feature just a single resort. Should guests or staff come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19, in theory they will be easily traceable, while the potential for spread is kept to a minimum.”
Of course for now, as titillating as a trip like this sounds, many countries are not allowing residents to leave, even if the Maldives is ready to accept them. Not to mention, travel insurance is a huge grey area (at best) right now.
But once travel insurance companies, tourists’ home nations and the world more generally all adapt to the new normal, and confirmed Virus cases dwindle, The Maldives will be ahead of the curve, so to speak, when it comes to safely – and luxuriously – accepting guests.
As CNBC reports, despite the Maldives being open for business, “hotels are only gradually reopening, with Conrad Maldives Rangali Island planning to reopen at the end of September, and St. Regis and all other Marriott International hotels in the Maldives not planning to reopen until October.”
However, as Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and founder of Soneva, which has two Maldives resorts, recently told CNN Travel, there are positive signs when it comes to demand: “We have more on the books at Soneva Fushi for August than we had at the same time last year. As the borders open, and our main markets are allowed to travel to us, it could be our best August ever.”