The one island, one resort concept of the Maldives makes it one of the most naturally safe environments to spend a holiday during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing between guests isn’t difficult as most facilities are in large open spaces and accommodation is well spaced. Resorts have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety measures to ensure risks are minimised and the vast majority of COVID cases in the Maldives have been in the capital island of Male which is not generally visited by tourists. With greater travel flexibility being offered and some fantastic discounts, a holiday to the Maldives is a very appealing option right now for those desperate for some sun, relaxation and underwater adventure.
Below we have tried to outline the current situation and answer some of the frequently asked questions.
Updated 21 January 2021
UK Travel Advice & Restrictions
Please always check the following website for current Maldives travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/maldives
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO): Prior to lockdown, the Maldives was included in the exempt list of countries from the general travel advisory on all but essential international travel. This is important as travelling to a destination where there is a FCDO advisory in place against all but essential travel, can invalidate travel insurance.
Travel Corridor Scheme: Travel corridors were suspended from 4am, 18 January 2021. If you arrive in England from anywhere outside the UK , Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, although it is possible to reduce this to 5 days if you take a further PCR test and this result is also negative.
Prior to this suspentions, the Maldives were listed on the travel corridor scheme and therefore self-isolation was not required when returning to England, providing you do not transit in a country which is not listed on the UK travel corridor list.
Testing for return to England: It is now a legal requirement to have a PCR test in the 3 days before you start your journey to England. From 4am on 18 January 2021, if you do not present proof of a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, you may not be able to board to travel to England, and could be fined £500 on arrival into England.
Lockdowns: From 5 January 2021 until lockdown ends, it is not possible to go on holiday abroad from England. We will not take bookings departing from England during any lockdown period.
Is the Maldives Open to Tourists?
- The border and Velana Male International Airport have been open since 15 July 2020.
- Domestic airports and seaplane operators have all resumed operation from 01 July 2020.
- Cruise ships, safari boats, yachts and other passenger vessels can enter the Maldives from an overseas location since 03 October 2020.
- You must have a confirmed pre-booking and provide emergency contact information.
- Travellers must have a passport or travel document valid for a minimum of 6 months from date of entry to the Maldives.
- A visa on arrival will be issued for 30 days at no cost.
- A certificate showing a negative PCR test taken a maximum of 96 hours prior to your departure flight from your country of origin. This is a requirement for all passengers including children from 1 year old.
- The Maldives online health declaration form must also be completed within the 24 hour period prior to arrival in the Maldives and requires your PCR certificate to be uploaded.
- Anyone with a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days and/or who has fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days should not travel to the Maldives.
- Whilst not a requirement of entry, travellers are also encouraged to download the contact tracing app “TraceEkee”.
- There is no need to quarantine when you arrive into the Maldives, providing you are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
Enhanced COVID-19 Safety Measures
- On arrival at Male airport there is temperature screening in the arrivals hall, masks must be worn, hand sanitiser used and physical distancing observed.
- The arrival hall capacity at Male International Airport has been reduced from 1,000 passengers to 570. The departures terminal will also be reduced from 1,200 to 750 passengers.
- Any arrivals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will need to take a RT-PCR test at their own cost. Maldives border authorities will take random tests at no charge.
- The wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser is compulsory before boarding transfer vessel or aircraft.
- All resorts, hotels, guesthouses and liveaboards will be required to comply with all relevant Maldives legislation and a specific set of standards when reopening. Full details can be found here.
- Self-service buffets have been replaced by waiter service and more a la carte style dining.
- Excursions to local inhabited islands are being withdrawn.
- Enhanced cleaning of guest rooms.
- Infrared thermometers available at resort front desks to conduct temperature checks of guests and employees upon request.
- Regular training of resort staff ensuring proper hand hygiene and awareness of COVID-19.
We understand that things remain uncertain with rules and restrictions changing frequently, often at the last minute. This makes planning travel very difficult both for you and us! Resorts and airlines are offering much greater flexibility to allow cancellation or postponement if you cannot travel due to COVID related restrictions. At the time that your final balance is due, if you do not feel comfortable about travelling or your holiday is affected by restrictions, we are offering the option of postponing your trip to any future date. We will not charge an amendment fee and in most cases, we have been able to postpone accommodation at the same rate as the original booking.
Closer to departure date, if the situation changes, we will be as flexible as possible to provide the best outcome to you whilst protecting our finances. Many resorts are offering free of charge cancellation up to 7 or even 3 days prior to arrival and will normally be happy to postpone your holiday at the same rates. With regards to flights we will be bound by airline policies applicable at the time. Unfortunately some airlines, British Airlines in particular, will only provide a refund if they themselves cancel the flight. The reality of the situation is that if we are not provided with a refund from our suppliers, we will be unable to provide clients with a refund. But we will always do our very best and the worst case scenario is that you will have a credit to take your holiday at a future date.
Questions & Answers
Are all resorts open?
Most resorts are either open or are in the process of opening. A few have remained open during the entire pandemic whilst others have closed temporarily.
Can I stay at more than one resort during my holiday in Maldives?
Yes. Guests can now have multi-resort-stays during your Maldives holiday.
Every time you travel from one property to another, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) requires your current resort to submit a travel request form 48 hours prior to departure. Guests will only be allowed to travel between two resorts if both resorts do not have reported, suspected or isolated cases of Covid-19. Due to this uncertainty, we currently recommend that you limit your holiday to a single resort.
Please check with your insurance company if you are covered if your multi-resort stay plans are disrupted.
What will happen if I test positive for COVID-19 in Maldives?
Health Protection Agency (HPA) guidelines must be followed. Isolation at the resort for 14 days is mandatory for anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing will identify those who also need to be tested. All close contacts will have to undergo quarantine for 14 days at the resort and will be PCR tested prior to being released from quarantine.
Please check with your insurance company if you are covered for expenses incurred during any potential isolation.
If a positive or suspected COVID-19 case is identified in the resort, will the resort go into ‘lockdown’?
No. The Maldives Health Protection Agency (HPA) do not require resorts to go into ‘lockdown’ in such situations. The resort team will work together with the Health Protection Agency (HPA), following guidelines on isolation, testing and contact tracing for the individual(s) concerned, along with stringent protocols to keep all guests and employees safe.
Can I get a PCR test done at the resort?
Most resorts can arrange for a PCR test to be carried out at the resort. Please be aware that an additional charge may apply.
Which airlines are travelling to the Maldives?
At the current time British Airways (direct flights from London Heathrow on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday), Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airlines are all travelling from the UK to the Maldives. From 12 December, SriLankan Airlines will start a twice weekly (Tuesday and Saturday) direct flight to the Maldives from London Heathrow.
What if I test positive for Covid-19 within 96 hours of my departure date?
If you test positive within 96 hours of your departure flight whilst completing the PCR test required, we will try to change your flight and hotel to a future date. You will need to pay the airline’s standard change fee (around £200 per person) and we will try our best to move your resort booking to a future date at the same price.
What about travel insurance for the Maldives?
A specialist insurance policy has been developed by MyAllied in association with the Maldives government (for $35 for 6 nights stay or $45 for 7 nights+) which we would recommend if you need insurance to cover any medical expenses when out in the Maldives. Please see here for details:
Will diving, snorkeling and excursions be available?
Snorkeling, diving, watersports and excursions will be available with additional safety measures as laid out by the HPA Guidelines. Not all dive centres are operational at resort properties and we advise you to check with the resort or with us to ensure that dive centres are operational at the island you are planning to visit. Day tours to other islands will not be available until further notice.