2019 was a remarkable year in the history of Maldives’ tourism, with a record-breaking 1.7 million tourist arrivals to the country. Prior to COVID-19, the target for 2020 was to welcome 2 million tourist arrivals before the end of the year.
However, due to the global pandemic, the Maldives closed its borders on 27 March 2020. It put stringent measures in place to curb the spread of the virus and as a result, just four months after the closure, the tourism industry reopened on 15 July 2020, with enhanced precautionary measures. A safe tourism guideline was issued by the Ministry of Tourism, along with a certification program to ensure strict safety and hygiene standards across all tourism facilities.
Resorts and liveaboards on uninhabited islands have resumed operations, whereas guest houses on inhabited islands will resume operations on 10 October 2020.
During a virtual ceremony held to mark World Tourism Day 2020, the Minister of Tourism, Honourable Abdulla Mausoom, inaugurated the “Maldives Border Miles” program, aimed to boost tourism in Maldives.
Maldives Border Miles is a three-tiered loyalty program for tourists, the first of its kind in the world. Tourists who register will earn points based on their number of visits to the country and their duration of stay. Additional points will be awarded for visits to celebrate special occasions. The three categories are; Aida (bronze tier), Antara (silver tier) and Abaarana (gold tier). Each level will be defined by a set variety of rewards, services or benefits, which increase in value as members progress.
The tourism promotion program was initiated by Maldives Immigration, and developed with joint stakeholders, who also joined the ceremony; Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).
“Launching on 1 December 2020, the Maldives Border Miles program will increase the popularity of Maldives as a tourist destination and provide a path for more marketing and advertising opportunities. In addition, I think that this will further enhance the popularity gained in the key markets of Maldives tourism,” said Dr Mausoom.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Controller General of Immigration, Mr Mohamed Ahmed Hussain, mentioned how the Maldives is ready to welcome tourists and provide them with an experience like never before.
“The hotel is not where the tourists begin their holiday. Their awaited journey begins from the welcoming smile of the immigration officer at the border, which indeed narrates the initial chapter of a memorable holiday. And with the introduction of Maldives Border Miles, we are prepared to welcome them with privileges and facilitate a completely unique experience,” said Mr Hussain.
Following the launch of the program, the Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, highlighted the importance of marketing this program to tourists all over the world.
“Our sincere hope is that this program aids in increasing the destination presence and produces a beneficial impact on the tourism industry, as well as increase the tourist arrival rate in the future. We look forward to its successful implementation in the approaching days,” said Mr Mohamed.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited, Mr. Gordon Andrew Stewart also touched upon the importance of the program and safe touri
“Maldives Border Miles program is an innovative way to attract global travellers to the Maldives. To support this, we are focused on our passengers and staff’s health. We have taken a number of steps to assure that Velana International Airport is a safe airport, for all travellers. We recently attained the Airport Industry Association’s ACI International Health Accreditation certification. This certificate recognises the steps we have implemented to ensure we have all the required health and safety measures in our airport to assure passengers of their safety, while travelling through the airport,” said Mr Stewart.
With the introduction of the Maldives Border Miles program, it is expected that tourism will boost considerably as it is an added advantage in promoting Maldives. Furthermore, it is also a golden opportunity for returning visitors to rediscover the best of Maldives and get the most out of their visit to the sunny side of life.
For the most recent updates of the program, visit imuga.immigration.gov.mv/mbm
Edited by Arrnott Olssen