Male, June 7: Maldives Minister of Tourism Abdulla Mausoom has said that the heavy losses sustained by the country's tourism sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic can be recovered by the end of the year, local media reported on Monday.

Speaking to a local TV channel, Mausoom said: "We can boost our numbers, we can increase the number of bed nights. Thankfully, our rates are good." Maldives Bars Travellers From South Asian Countries, Including India Due to COVID-19 Crisis

Data from Maldives' Ministry of Tourism showed that 460,924 tourists visited the country in 2021, compared to 555,494 in 2020 and 1.7 million in 2019, reports Xinhua news agency.

The government aims to achieve 1.5 million tourist arrivals by the end of this year.

However, Mausoom said that the government's expectation of over 3,000 arrivals per day has been dampened by the third wave of the pandemic.

He said that the current arrival rate is half of what was expected.

Mausoom said that the UK's red-listing of the Maldives as a travel destination, and the Male government's decision to suspend issuing visas to countries in South Asia, have contributed to a stagnation of arrivals.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 07, 2021 01:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website