The Ministry of Tourism has drafted and publicized a regulation whereby travel agencies would be able to operate in the Maldives without the need for a physical office.
The new changes brought about by the Ministry are expected to greatly ease operators in this line of business. Previously, travel agencies had to have a designated office, with email and fax facilities in place. New entrants to the market also had to meet certain criteria outlined by the Ministry.
However, the changes brought to those regulations now mean that the Ministry will no longer be inspecting newly formed travel agencies.
Although an office is not necessary, travel agencies must still have an email address and phone number, as stipulated by the guidelines. Additionally, a person to be held accountable for the company, along with his/her email address and phone number is also required.
As per regulations, operational permit for travel agencies cannot be given to companies run by a foreign party; therefore, if a foreign company would like to expand their operations within the Maldives, they must do so in partnership with a local travel agent.
While over 400 travel agents are in the Maldives, due to the COVID-19 situation, many companies have halted operations. Work is currently being done by the government to pave the way for further opportunities for such businesses in the Maldives.