Today, Maldives reopened its borders after a three-month lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic that brought the global travel and tourism activities to a stringent halt.

The first commercial passenger airliner in months, a Qatar Airways jetliner carrying 128 passengers from Doha—104 tourists and 24 Maldivian nationals—was welcomed at Velana International Airport this morning at 8:27 with a ceremonial water salute.

Acting Minister of Tourism Fayyaz Ismail, Minister of Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula and managing director of the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation Thoyyib Mohamed exchanged salutations via hand gestures with the first group of new-normal travellers as they disembarked. They will be spending time in some of the country’s 40 tourist properties that also reopened today.

It is quite easy to get to the Maldives in the era of new-normal—as long as there are flights from your nearest airport, anyone can come to the Maldives just like the pre-pandemic times. No travel restrictions are imposed on any country as of right now, and 30-day on-arrival visas will be offered to tourists of all nationalities. However, travellers are required to have a booking made at a registered property.

Thoyyib Mohamed, who heads the premiere destination marketing agency of the Maldives, said the Maldives has made its presence throughout the world digitally during the lockdown.

Maldives’ tourism slogan, the sunny side of life, is now slightly edited to fit the current times as “Rediscover Maldives - the sunny side of life”, said Thoyyib.

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), the operator of the country’s main aviation hub Velana International Airport says flights to the Maldives were already overbooked before the borders opened. More airlines, including SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways are also set to commence flights to Malé this month, and other major airlines like British Airways, Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, Edelweiss and Turkish Air will follow during the coming weeks.