Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour operators (MATATO) raises concerns over the governments newly drafted “Maldives Safe Tourism Guideline. The Association highlighted that according to UNTWO estimates, global tourist numbers would fall by 70-80% due to the COVID 19 pandemic further exacerbating the recovery plans for the tourism dependent Maldivian Economy.
They continued on to mention how it is vital to resume tourism in Maldives in a feasible and practical manner rather than adopting a method which “actively hinders” an already ailing industry. They also described the newly drafted guideline as something that would destroy the Maldivian Tourism brand cultivated over 40 of hard work as multiple international players have criticized the new guideline which gives the image of Maldives as unwelcoming and inhospitable.
They also noted that as a key stakeholder of the industry, they were not invited to draft or share their opinion while the guideline was prepared but only shared a copy of the guideline 2 days prior to get feedback for the guideline by the Tourism Ministry. MATATO also criticized the government’s failure to consult all industry stakeholder before preparing a guideline which would affect the whole economy and that Maldives should maintain the 40 year old brand image of a welcoming and warm nation for tourists.