Vacay in Malé amid COVID-19: Maldives reopens border to India; Mumbai International Airport offers 4 direct flights

As Maldives reopens its borders for leisure travel from India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is catering to the route in line with the Air Bubble agreement signed between the two countries. CSMIA began passenger flight operations to Male, one of the most preferred destinations from Mumbai, from July 15, offering four direct flights, two each by IndiGo as well as GoFirst that are operated twice a week between Mumbai and Male.

The CSMIA said in a press statement that amongst all the destinations that the Indian Government has signed an Air Bubble agreement with last year, Maldives emerged as one of the preferred international destinations for leisure travel through Mumbai. The Mumbai international airport noted over 30,725 departing passengers and 27,030 arrivals to Maldives.

"Overall, during the year 2020, CSMIA witnessed over 371 flight movements carrying 46,735 passengers between Mumbai and Male. Before the suspension of travel between Maldives and India in May 2021, due to the outbreak of the second wave in India, Maldives continued to have a regular flow of passengers from Mumbai. The airport handled a total of 493 flights carrying approximately 57,765 passengers during this time with the route being operated by IndiGo, GoFirst and Vistara, IndiGo seeing the highest passenger traffic with 31,077 passengers," the statement read.

Meanwhile, on July 7, Maldives announced that tourists travelling from South Asia will be issued visa-on-arrival and allowed to stay in Tourist Resorts with effect from July 15. The assurance of a visa-on-arrival at Maldives to Indian travelers led to an ease from regulations. As a prerequisite for the visa, passengers need to ensure that their passports have at least 1-month validity from the date of their expected departure in the Maldives as well as provide proof of a confirmed pre-booking at a registered tourist facility.

The passengers travelling to Male are required to carry a negative RT PCR test result, wherein the sample should be taken within a maximum of 96 hours prior to departure to Maldives. Travelers also have to submit a health declaration form on the Maldives Immigration portal 24 hours before their travel to the islands. Furthermore, the Government of Maharashtra (GOM) has already announced an exemption from the mandatory requirements of a negative RT-PCR test result for all arriving passengers who have received both doses of the vaccine, the second dose having been administered 15 days prior to arrival.

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