Recommendations for vacationers from the company “ART-TOUR”
The Maldives survived the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic relatively well and began accepting tourists on the same, pre-quarantine conditions from July 15. However, on September 10, the rules for entry, placement and stay of vacationers were changed. Ninel Shakhbekova, Head of the Indian Ocean Islands Department of the ART-TOUR company, talks about what to prepare for today for those who are going on vacation to the islands of this archipelago.
The main requirement for those who are going to the Maldives is a certificate with a negative PCR test for COVID-19, made no more than 72 hours before departure from Moscow. “We recommend not to postpone testing until the last moment – if the test is positive, you can lose everything. We have had cases when clients were diagnosed with coronavirus and we helped them in postponing the dates of their stay in hotels to a later date – the hotel policy is now quite flexible, they meet tourists and shift their stay to acceptable dates, says Ninel Shakhbekova. – Our task is to postpone the departure dates, so that clients do not incur material losses due to tickets already purchased. We make every effort so that the cost of the tour does not change. ”
Additionally, 24 hours before arriving in the Maldives, you must fill out an online health declaration, in which you need to enter information about the test result (of course, negative) and post a personal photo.
Pandemic under control
A number of hotels in the Maldives ask to be re-tested for COVID-19 upon arrival – this reduces the risk that tourists on the island can become infected from other guests. The service is paid – from $ 120, the cost of the test is included in the bill for tourists. The test is prepared quickly, within 4-6 hours. All this time, tourists are advised not to leave their villa. I would like to note that the guests treat this with understanding, because thanks to such additional security measures, the situation with the coronavirus in the Maldives can be kept under control. The country has taken many measures to suppress the pandemic, and it pays special attention to the health of every tourist: before entering the restaurant, the temperature is measured for guests, and in some hotels the COVID testing service is free of charge. This is also important for those who leave the archipelago on Emirates Airlines flights – without a fresh test, the carrier will not allow passengers on board. Therefore, all guests are asked to inform in advance about the need for the test. Aeroflot has no such restrictions.
Demand exceeds supply
A common problem is the lack of tickets: if in October 2019 Aeroflot flew five flights a week, and Emirates – 14, this year there are only three of them: two from Aeroflot and one connecting from Emirates. There are no plans to increase the number of flights. In October, Turkish Airlines began its flight program, having already managed to reduce the number of flights to three, but this, as the tour operator notes, will not solve the problem with seats. “In September, after the opening of the direction, an incredible boom began. Lovers of the Maldives often book tours for the near future – October-November, – explains Ninel Shahbekova. “But there are those who, not being afraid of the unstable global situation with COVID-19, have planned their vacation for the new year and for more distant dates.”
No collapse, but with bonuses
The collapse of prices, which was expected by Russian tourists, did not happen: a tour worth $ 2.5 thousand did not cost 1.5 thousand, but a decrease in prices is still observed. “Hotels in the Maldives are highly competitive – they also monitor the quality of their product and the pricing policy of their neighbors, provide interesting additional offers: today it can be 40-50% discount, free transfer, food upgrade – for example, they offer dinner as a gift to a paid breakfast, and they also provide free accommodation for children, ”the tour operator explains.
By direct contract
The company “ART-TOUR” works under direct contracts with more than a hundred hotels in the Maldives, which allows you to control the status of orders at all stages, including the wishes of tourists. The exclusive of the company is the luxury segment: for very wealthy clients, the company offers holidays on such island hotels as Cheval Blanc Randheli, Velaa Private Island, Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons Landaa Giravaaru, One & Only Reethi Rah, Joali and Nautilus, in which cost several thousand dollars.
But since the demand for the Maldives is constantly growing, the company has expanded its base to include good “fives” and proven “fours” – among them the most in demand are budget hotels of the Cinnamon chain, Kuredu Island Resort & Spa, Meeru Island, Vilamendoo Island, hotels of the Villa Hotels group, as well as affordable hotels of the Riu group. “We also have several“ triplets ”- hotels with decent cuisine and service, – says the head of the Indian Ocean Islands Department of the ART-TOUR company. – These are Innahura Maldives Resort, Fihalhohi, Fun Island Resort and Biyadhoo Island Resort. But we have never worked with guesthouses, apartments and “deuces” and we do not plan to change anything in this direction. “
Covid restrictions have left their mark on the transfer to hotels – they try to deliver tourists to their holiday destination as soon as possible, reducing their contact with the outside world. Therefore, for these purposes, a seaplane is often used – the most expensive type of transfer in the Maldives, the price of which starts at $ 600. At the same time, hoteliers observe distancing, reducing seats in seaplanes, and one flight, instead of the previous 15 passengers, may leave a smaller number of tourists. The choice of means of transportation also depends on the time of arrival in the Maldives – seaplanes do not fly at night. Long distance hotels usually use a combined transfer that includes a domestic flight and a boat trip. Well, those hotels that are located close enough to Male International Airport deliver their guests by boat.
Actual prices and packages
The ART-TOUR company offers two types of packages to the Maldives: the first includes a flight from Moscow and the regions with stays from 7 to 14 nights. The second type of packages includes accommodation and transfer, and here the number of nights can vary from 1 to 21. “Our prices are current and final at the time of booking. These include transfers, commission, taxes and fees applicable in the Maldives, as well as special hotel offers, ”the expert adds. All additional questions can be asked by calling or writing to the Department of the Indian Ocean Islands of the company “ART-TOUR”.
ART-TOUR is your specialist in Maldives!
Tel .: (495) 232-31-13
e-mail: [email protected]