Rapid Livelihood Assessment: Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis in the Maldives

As a country solely dependent on tourism, Maldives is amongst the worst affected countries in the Asia region and potentially globally, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of confirmed cases of the virus in tourist resorts in early March 2020, the Government of Maldives introduced strict containment measures which eventually resulted in the suspension of on arrival visa for visitors at the end of April 2020. This meant that the Maldives tourism industry would completely close for three months until July 2020 which is unprecedented in the country’s history. It is estimated that these local containment measures as well as the pandemic’s impact on global travel will result in a decline in tourist arrivals for the year 2020 by 50 percent or more. This negative impact on tourism is expected to lead to a significant decline in the GDP growth for the year, the loss is expected to be in the range 11 to 30 percent with substantial declines in revenues for the Government.