Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, on Tuesday, chaired the 32nd joint meeting held by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO)’s Commission for South Asia (CS) and Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (CAP).
The meeting was held virtually, due to the restrictions imposed by the ongoing global health crisis, although member countries formerly selected Sri Lanka to host the 32nd CAP-CSA meeting.
The main agenda of the meeting constituted of providing international protection for tourists, rebuilding consumer confidence and policy issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the meeting focused on the impact of the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak on international tourism.
During the meeting, participants also exchanged views on UNWTO Global Guideline to Restart Tourism.
“The Maldives believes the key to successful post-pandemic tourism is a balance between confidence and convenience”, Ali Waheed said.
“The united response, universal standards and international cooperation from the international society, public and private organizations have positively impacted our ways of thinking and facilitated in adapting to the ‘new normal’. That is what we offer when we reopen this July”.
The minister also thanked the Secretary-General and the UNWTO Team for being one of the first organisations in responding and taking pre-emptive measures to assist all member states in addressing this global pandemic.
He further reiterated the initiatives from UNWTO that have helped member states to re-strategize policies and adopt new measures to overcome the severe economic downturn and recession faced by the countries.
A total of 27 countries out of the 29 member states of UNWTO Commission for South Asia (CSA) and UNWTO Commission for East Asia & the Pacific (CAP) participated in the virtual conference.
The meeting was held in attendance with UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, and co-chaired by Malaysia by Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Mohd Zamri Mat Zain.
Heavily reliant on tourism for revenue, with the industry momentarily grounded to a halt, Maldives estimates a shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency, while projected state deficit would reach MVR 13 billion this year.
The state has announced that Maldives will resume tourism with the reopening of the country’s borders on July 15, after the closure on March 27 as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
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