India to make an air travel bridge to Maldives! With Maldives opening its international tourism on July 15 after four months of being under a lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, India is likely to establish an air bubble or air travel bridge. The Maldives government has reached out to Indian government in order to make a formal request and an agreement is likely to be reached in another two-three days, the IE reported.
It is to note that air bubbles or air travel bridges can be known as a reciprocal corridor where two countries allow travelling without imposing any kind of restrictions. These are usually formed with an agreement between two countries depending on the Coronavirus transmission rate. An air bubble can be formed where COVID-19 positivity rate is quite less.
According to an announcement made by President Ibrahim Solih last month, Maldives will be opening its resorts on islands from July 15 whereas some hotels in populated areas like Male will resume operations from August 1. While some countries have suggested quarantine, Maldives will not have any compulsory quarantine. Moreover, visas will be free and issued on arrival, said the IE report.
As of now, Maldives have been reporting very less Coronavirus cases, roughly around 50 cases in a day which is considered as a low risk country for Coronavirus. On July 11, the total count of COVID-19 confirmed cases reached 2,681 where 2,238 people have recovered and 13 succumbed to it, the report highlighted.
Further, it is believed that building an air corridor will project a strong signal of solidarity along with the Maldives government, the report said citing government officials. Notably, tourism makes up for around 70 per cent of Maldives’ GDP and ties with India will come out as a “special gesture,” according to the report. With the creation of an air bubble, some flights will be able to operate from select Indian airports before India opens its international flights to any other country. Meanwhile, in two days, 16 international flights will start flying from Maldives.
While the government is making such arrangements, it is still unclear how many Indian tourists will visit Maldives. The report mentioned that the air bubble can facilitate as many as 6,000 Indians who are employed in the health, education and hospitality sector in Maldives. These people were earlier evacuated from the islands by Indian Navy during May.
Indian travellers are increasingly conscious about traveling outside the country, given the dangers of Coronavirus pandemic. Not just that, there have been reports citing that the coronavirus pandemic is air-borne, due to which it is recommended that people stay at home and not venture out unless it is absolutely necessary. With the country witnessing a surge in cases across states, it is unclear whether Indian travellers will take the risk of taking a trip abroad anytime soon.