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Dotted with island resorts and blessed with white sands and turquoise waters, the Maldives is always proud to be a top tourist destination.
However, the coronavirus pandemic severely stopped the global travel and tourism industry last year, forcing island nations to step up their economic diversification efforts by expanding other sectors.
In the small archipelago, tourism accounts for more than 28% of GDP. Bring in about 60% of the foreign exchange receipt, According to Michigan State University..
In a recent interview, President Ibrahim Mohamed Sori said, “As an economy that relies heavily on international tourism, restrictions on world travel and other safeguards against the Covid-19 pandemic have had a major impact on the Maldives.” It was.
The Maldives closed its borders from March to July last year and temporarily closed its tourism sector, resulting in the dismissal of thousands of workers. Some of them have lost their jobs forever. That led to a dramatic shortage of foreign exchange receipts that the Maldives relies on import payments.
“The closure of the border meant that tourists arrived virtually zero during that period, the first time since modern tourism began in the late 1970s,” Solich said in an email. Said.
Last year, the Maldives welcomed over 500,000 tourists. This is a plunge of 67.4% of tourists since 2019, with 1.7 million visitors.
The Maldives reopened its borders in mid-July, but tourist arrivals have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels.
Sori was optimistic, noting that 100,000 people had already visited the island nation since the border was reopened by mid-December.
Tourists will be given a 30-day arrival visa. Quarantine is not mandatory if you complete an online health report and test negative for the pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is widely used to detect Covid.
There are about 1,200 islands nationwide, and each island operates like a unique resort, providing a social distance among tourists.
Still, more than 19,500 people in the country, or just below 4% of the population — According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus test was positive, of which 61 died.
While the tourism sector is recovering, the Maldives is also working to revitalize other sectors of the economy, Sori said.
“We are currently working on economic diversification by expanding the fisheries and agriculture sector and establishing a decentralized network to provide public services,” he said.
The president added that he is also working on an initiative that considers nature maintenance and climate change measures in the Maldives.
Addressing climate change is on the government’s agenda because rising sea levels pose physical vulnerabilities to island nations.
Mr Sori said the government responded to the economic crisis through a variety of measures, including income support, lending to struggling businesses with interest-free grace periods, and delays in debt repayment to individuals, families and businesses.
The Maldives has received a suspension of debt repayment payable to creditors. G20 Debt Repayment Suspension Initiative Until the middle of this year. According to the president, it was also given a debt moratorium by other major development partners that allowed the government to revert $ 24 million to its Covid response efforts.
“We are in continuous discussions with creditors to seek additional debt repayment suspensions when possible,” Sori said.
Still, the budget deficit remains a concern. Rating agency Fitch downgraded Maldives He moved from “B” to “CCC” in November and said he expects the country’s debt burden to skyrocket due to the Covid shock and ongoing debt-funded infrastructure spending.
Tourism-dependent Maldives strengthens economic diversification efforts
Source link Tourism-dependent Maldives strengthens economic diversification efforts