The Maldives has requested to establish a special travel arrangement with India when the Maldives’ border reopens after a hiatus of nearly four months
The Maldives has requested to establish a special travel arrangement with India when the Maldives’ border reopens after a hiatus of nearly four months.
The Maldives closed its borders to tourists on March 27 as a precautionary measure against COVID19. The tourism dependent island nation is now preparing to reopen its border on July 15.
Foreign Ministry has said that even though the Indian border is closed in response to COVID-19 pandemic, the Maldives has officially requested to establish an “air corridor” with India.
Communications Director of Foreign Ministry Ahmed Miuwan Mohamed said the Indian government has indicated the arrangement will be facilitated in the upcoming days. Under the special arrangement, flights will be operated between India and the Maldives. He noted that the arrangement will provide relief for importing cargo and travelling to India for medical treatments.
Following the closure of Maldives border, the Indian government repatriated a large number of Indians working in the Maldives in special evacuation flights and naval ships. Once the new air corridor is established, it will also enable those who were repatriated to return to the Maldives.
“Most of the Indians who were repatriated work in the Maldives as doctors, nurses and in other technical fields. Thus, after the travel bubble is established, it will enable them to return to the Maldives”, said Miuvan, noting that the air travel window is similar to that established between Australia and New Zealand.
Miuwan added that with the opening of the border, the tourism industry will be reopened and the air corridor will serve as an aid to bring Indian tourists to the Maldives. Maldives has agreed to test Indian tourists for COVID-19 one day ahead of their departure to India.