A fascinating travel destination and a favourite of superyachts, the Maldives is one of the few top cruising destinations lifting Covid-19 restrictions and is proving to be a resounding success!
Reporting from the Maldives, Mohamed Hameed of Asia Pacific Superyachts has some exciting news for the yachting/ superyacht global community about the Republic recently opening to foreign-flagged vessels: “M/Y Ebony Shine and M/Y Blue Shadow are already in the Maldives and we know of yachts planning to visit soon, including M/Y Lady E, M/Y Vava 2, M/Y Ulysses and S/Y SKADE – there are also many others inquiring at the moment”.
When asked about the current take of visiting Captains and Owners, Mohamed quoted one Captain as stating, “For the time being it sounds like the Maldives would be one of the easiest destinations for the yacht and guests to visit! Most other countries require quarantine periods and still limit various nationalities in general“.
“We are noticing that a lot of yachts are choosing to visit Maldives quite early in the season this year, as vessels are aware Maldives regulations/restrictions are relatively easier compared to the rest of the yachting destinations. We are potentially looking at a very successful and happening season ahead 2020/2021 (fingers crossed 😊).”
Cruising within the waters of Maldives is quite hassle free comments Mohamed, except for going ashore to local inhabited islands, “Resort visits are based on individual permissions from respective resort managements, etc. There are plenty of exciting activities for guests to experience while in Maldives – going ashore to uninhabited islands, sandbanks, and other recreational activities on open water – such as diving, snorkeling, fishing, water sports etc.
“Most yachts still choose to be anchored near Bandos Island Resort when guests are not on board and/ or while waiting for guests. This is mainly because Bandos is closer to airport and makes it easy for crew change, ease of receiving provisions, garbage clearance etc. A few superyachts are choosing to go to the Yacht Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives; however, there are only two slots big enough for 60 meters LOA. Crossroads is mainly used to stay on anchor when there are no guests as great place for crew entertainment”, Mohamed notes.
It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes for arrival/departure process to complete; given that all required arrival/departure documents/formalities are completed well in advance. Hameed notes, “The process is usually smooth as we guide the Captain/Crew with constant clear communication day and night. We ensure that all formalities/documents are in place prior to these proceedings”.
There are no restrictions imposed on specific nationals; but generally, all nationals entering Maldives will need to show a Negative PCR result. The PCR test must be conducted 72hrs prior to departure to Maldives. In case for transiting/visiting yachts; each crew will be required to conduct the test 72hrs prior to departure from their last port (even though it takes several days at sea afterward to reach Maldives). As well, a Traveler Health Declaration (THD) form must be submitted by all travelers travelling to and from Maldives, within 24 hours prior to their travel. This can be submitted electronically via http://imuga.immigration.gov.mv.
‘Safe Travels’ Stamp
The Ministry of Tourism Republish of Maldives announced the Maldives was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp, granted by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). WTTC recognises the efforts of the Maldives in implementing enhanced health and safety measures in line with the WTTC global Safe Travels protocol of creating a safe, gradual plan by rebuilding confidence among travellers and ensuring a coordinated approach in restarting the country’s Tourism industry.
It is the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also embraced the WTTC Safe Travels stamp, which have the safety and hygiene of travellers as their top priority. Since the launch of the stamp, major destinations around the world have signed up to the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp.
A substantial reduction in fees to enter the Maldives also benefits visiting vessels. This helps make the Maldives a superyacht favourite and provides a viable stopover for all yachts crossing the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is a convenient stop-over for yachts bound for either the Red Sea or en route via the Cape of Good Hope.