The Ministry of Tourism has begun work on looking for cheaper tour packages for tourists in the Maldives from Russia and Ukraine as war rages on between the two countries.
Speaking on a programme aired on RaajjeTV, Minister of Tourism Dr Abdullah Mausoom said that due to privacy protection policies practiced by tourist facilities, the Ministry did not have an exact number on the number of Ukrainian and Russian tourists currently present in the Maldives.
However, based on information from Immigration, and other data gathered about tourists, the Ministry estimated that there were around 8,000 Russian tourists and 700 Ukrainian tourists in the Maldives.
Following sanctions from the European Union on Russia, and the closing of both Russian and Ukrainian airspace, returning home would be difficult for many of those tourists.
The Minister said that as a result, the Ministry's Tourist Relations Department was currently working on helpinng the Russian and Ukrainian tourists in the Maldives. Minister Dr Mausoom said that the Ministry's current work was to sift through all of the tour packages available country-wide.
"Now we're looking for tour facilities that would offer the cheapest packages in the country. Which packages are on offer from resorts, guesthouses, and safaris. We would then offer these packages to the tourists", said Minister Dr Mausoom.
The Minister said that given the current situation in Russia and Ukraine, discussions held between the Ministry and Immigration concluded with assurances from Immigration that arrangements were being made so that Russian and Ukrainian tourists could easily have their tourist visas extended.
Tourists from most nationalities get a 30-day visa on-arrival in the Maldives. Russian tourists, however, get a 90-day visa.