Over the past few weeks, tension has been brewing at the sight of long lines and overcrowding at the Velana International Airport. Some resorts have expressed concern that tourists are required to spend hours going through airport procedures, resulting in complaints.
Indeed, it must be a tiring, upsetting experience. Imagine you have spent thousands of dollars on an awaited holiday to paradise, only to meet with neverending queues and extended procedures. A bad first impression is bound to leave a sour taste in your mouth.
The issue here is two-fold. For one, guidelines set out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have added more steps to the arrival process, such as PCR test confirmation and health screenings. Inevitably, passengers have to stick around at the airport longer to undergo these additional steps.
The second thing, is that Maldives Immigration seemed to be understaffed the past few weeks, unprepared to deal with the onslaught of tourists during the peak holiday season. How are we to receive passengers if there isn’t enough manpower to do so?
Today, however, it seems there has been an end to these shortcomings. Maldives Immigration has now announced that passenger clearance from each flight will now take a mere 15 minutes.
According to the Controller of Immigration Ahmed Hussain, the problem was set straight after making changes to the immigration software. While it previously took about a minute to clear each incoming passenger, he states that it will now take no longer than 35 seconds.
The swift action taken by Maldives Immigration to resolve this issue will most definitely ease the traveler journey, especially when we are on the brink of the busiest holiday season of the year since the border reopened.