During a virtual ceremony held to mark World Tourism Day 2020 (September 27), the Maldives minister of tourism Hon. Dr. Abdulla Mausoom introduced the “Maldives Border Miles” program, aimed to boost tourism in Maldives. The program, touted as the first of its kind developed in the entire world, will launch on December 1, 2020.
What you need to know: “Maldives Border Miles” is a three-tiered loyalty program for tourists. Those who enroll in this program will earn points based on the number of visits and duration of stay. Additional points will be awarded for visits to celebrate special occasions. There are three categories in this program; Aida (bronze tier), Anantara (silver tier) and Abaarana (gold tier). Each tier will be defined by a set variety of rewards, services or benefits, which increase in value as members progress.
The program is a joint initiative between Maldives Immigration, the Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation and Maldives Airports Company Limited. It is intended “to take the tourism sector of Maldives to peak in the foreseeable future.”
The Maldives had a record year for tourism in 2019 with 1.7 million arrivals to the country. The goal for 2020, with more diversified and aggressive marketing activities in place, was 2 million tourist arrivals by the end of the year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Maldives closed its border on March 27. After almost four months since the suspension of on-arrival tourist visas, the tourism industry reopened on July 15, with enhanced precautionary measures against COVID-19. A safe tourism guideline was issued by the Ministry of Tourism, along with a certification program to ensure the safety and hygiene standards of all tourism facilities. Resorts and live-aboards on uninhabited islands have resumed operations whereas guest houses on inhabited islands resumed operations on October 10.