The scattered nature of the Maldivian archipelago proves to be an asset for tourists in search of health safety
With palm fringed islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is naturally blessed in current pandemic times with a geography that lends itself to social distancing. The one-island-one-resort concept, where each island has only one hotel establishment, providing plenty of space and privacy for the tourists, has proven very popular. In 2020, the country managed to attract 553,000 international visitors, down 67.5% over 2019.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Maldives has prioritised the health, safety and well-being of the population. Stringent guidelines for health and safety were prepared from the very beginning for every step – from constantly monitoring the evolving crisis to each and every phase of the visitor’s journey. These efforts were recognised by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in September 2020, resulting in the destination achieving the “Safe Travels Stamp” to ensure travellers’ confidence.
In 2020, the Maldives received the World’s Leading Destination award at the Grand Final of the World Travel Awards 2020, making it an historic win in this category for the first time. Maldives also won four more awards in the Indian Ocean category at World Travel Awards. These were “Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination 2020”, “Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Destination 2020”, “Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination 2020” and “Indian Ocean’s Leading Dive Destination 2020”. Last but not least, the Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination Award was attributed 13 times in the last 16 years to the Maldives.
Several new initiatives are strengthening the future of tourism. Maldives Immigration, together with the Ministry of Tourism, Visit Maldives and Maldives Airports Company launched the “Maldives Border Miles”. The three-tier loyalty programme will give points to tourists based on factors such as the duration of stay and frequency of visits. In addition, Allied Insurance Company, together with the Ministry of Tourism, has launched a Covid-19 insurance policy, focusing on tourists visiting Maldives. Tourists who are interested in this insurance should apply for the plan 24 hours prior to their arrival in the country.
The Maldives launched a vaccination campaign throughout the entire country on 1st February 2021. The programme aims to vaccinate as much of the population and workers in key industries as possible, including the vaccination of workers in the tourism sector. This will assure tourists and staff that the environment in which they are working is safe, secure and protected. The ultimate target is to make Maldives the first fully vaccinated tourism sector in the world.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
This year saw the opening of Ithaafushi – The Private Island, the largest Maldivian private island spanning 32,000 square meters in the heart of the Indian Ocean.
Located in close proximity to Malé, guests can be escorted directly to Ithaafushi – The Private Island via a 40-minute ride on one of the resort’s six luxury Princess yachts or via a 15-minute seaplane flight.
“Ithaafushi – The Private Island is the crown jewel of our luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific, limitless in the level of privacy and unrivalled hospitality guests are promised,” said Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president, Luxury & Lifestyle, Hilton, Asia Pacific. “The launch of this unique resort offering represents a momentous milestone for the Waldorf Astoria brand and truly speaks to our commitment to redefining luxury hospitality around the world.”