The Maldives is already known to be one of the most expensive vacation destinations in the world.  The average traveler can easily drop an estimated $5,800 for a seven-night itinerary when you factor in airfare, accommodations, transportation, and more.   

But the archipelago in South Asia could get more expensive as a result of COVID-19.

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The Ministry of Tourism recently announced that the Republic of the Maldives is considering welcoming international tourists as early as July 1 but warned that reopening would come with strict regulations. The biggest change amid the global health crisis is that visitors would be required to book vacations for at least 14 days.

Tourism in this popular honeymoon destination is a moneymaker for the island.  In 2019,  the island welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors and was on track to surpass that number in 2020 until leaders closed its borders to tourists to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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As more countries begin to rollout plans to reopen its borders,  tourism leaders in the Maldives are attempting to attract visitors by setting itself apart as a “safe tourism” destination and a “COVID-free country,” as reported in The Telegraph.

The Maldives has reported five deaths and a total of 1,457 cases.

Officials want to keep it that way, which is why visitors will have a more complicated time gaining access to the Maldives compared to previous years.

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For starters,  travelers will have to apply in advance for a tourist visa that’s estimated to cost $100.

Visas will only be granted to those who have a confirmed booking for a minimum of 14 nights and sufficient travel insurance for the duration of their stay. 

In addition,  travelers will have to submit a negative COVID-19 antigen test or a positive antibody test conducted up to a week before approval.

If you don’t have access to the test in your home state,  you can get one on arrival.  The downside is that you could potentially lose a day of your vacation because the results take anywhere between three and twelve hours until test results are sent back.   During your wait, you will be confined in your accommodations until your results are verified.

The Maldives may be known as one of the most relaxing destinations on Earth, but the process to get there during this pandemic seems terrifying.