The economic growth of the Maldives has been shaken like never before, says Minister of Tourism, Ali Waheed.
Speaking on RaajjeTV’s “Fala Surukhee” programme on Wednesday, the minister stated that the government had worked under the instructions and recommendations from health experts as well as professionals, after the country was struck by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
He stressed that the country’s borders may need to be closed once again should the situation worsen, as the government prioritizes the safety and security of the Maldivian citizens.
Waheed expressed hope that the country is not presented by such a situation.
Highlighting that the entire globe’s economy has been impacted by the pandemic, Waheed noted that the island nation’s economy has been severely affected by this.
Describing the losses as “irreparable”, Waheed said that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is worse than the damages caused by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.
Further, he noted that the tourism industry had seen successes after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih came into power.
As such, the country saw 1.4 million tourist arrivals during the first year of Solih’s administration, which is a progress of 100,000 arrivals, said Waheed.
Although Maldives aimed to break this record during 2020, tourist arrivals plunged following the pandemic, hindering the government’s plan for the industry. As such, the ministry’s new plan predicts 850,000 tourist arrivals for the remainder of the year.
Waheed described this as a major challenge.
In addition, Waheed noted that the biggest sacrifice was made by the citizens and that they play a major role in progressing the country’s economy.
Although the Maldives is set to reopen borders on July 15, tourist arrivals are expected to increase only by September. These numbers are expected to progress even further during the peak season, December to March.