Non-vaccinated tourists, however, will continue to require a Covid negative report from a test done within 96 hours of flying to the Maldives.
“Travel ease to the Maldives without a negative PCR test will be effective from April 20 for tourists who have got the final dose of their vaccine 14 days prior to arrival in the Maldives. Vaccine Certificate submission is via imuga.immigration.gov.mv prior to travel,” Maldives tourism ministry tweeted Saturday evening.
Travel-deprived Indians have been lining up for the Maldives ever since it opened for overseas visits last summer.
According to Maldives Tourism, the archipelago saw 2.2 lakh tourists between January 1, 2021, and March 11. “The top source market for tourist arrival was India with 52,201 arrivals, followed by Russia with 47,680 tourist arrivals. Ukraine stood third with 14,553 tourist arrivals. Other top source markets include Kazakhstan, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom,” it said in a report. Indians accounted for just under a quarter of all international tourists to Maldives in this period.
Few countries are open to international tourists at the moment, including UAE, Maldives, Seychelles and Russia. Sri Lanka is going to join this list shortly.
In the calendar year 2019, China was the top source market for overseas tourists for Maldives with India being at the second spot. But in 2020, vacation-deprived Indians flocked to the Maldives as soon as it reopened by the middle of that year. India became the largest source market for overseas visitors to Maldives in 2020 with 62,960 tourists followed by Russia, UK, Italy and Germany in the next four slots. China dropped to the sixth position last year.
In recent weeks, Seychelles started a flight to Mumbai while Sri Lanka also announced it is also going to get connectivity under an air bubble arrangement with India. Just when Maldives was staring at a tough competition to attract desi visitors from Sri Lanka, the archipelago has relaxed entry norms for fully vaccinated overseas tourists.