Germany announced on Wednesday (September 9, 2020) that it’s lifting its blanket travel warning to more than 160 countries and switch to country-specific advice with a ‘traffic light’ system of warnings from October 1, 2020.

The decision has been taken after the relevant German authorities asserted that the epidemiological situation in third-countries was quite different from one country to another; therefore Germans can now travel to some of these places even for non-essential purposes, due to low risks of infections.

“From October 1, 2020, unrestrictedly differentiated travel and safety information for individual countries will apply again,” a press release of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces, explaining that the current general warning against travel to all third-countries will end on September 30.

The German foreign ministry extended the current blanket warning against travel to most countries outside Europe to the end of this month on September 9, 2020. It also announced new travel warnings to parts of Europe, including large areas of France and Croatia and the cities of Prague and Geneva.

Germany currently allows unrestricted entry to travelers from beyond Europe only to a handful of countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Uruguay. In June, the Maldives was excluded from the list of destinations the German government considers as coronavirus risk areas. It was among the few countries in the world, and the only country from the region that was not included in the list.

The government will introduce a three-tier or ‘traffic light’ system of travel advice with ‘green for go’, ‘orange for wait’, and ‘red for the stop’. The ministry will continue to advise against all non-essential travel to countries it defines as ‘risk areas’ or ‘red’. It will also advise against travel to countries where entry is limited, quarantine required, or freedom of travel not permitted, designating these destinations ‘orange’.

The announcement drew a cautious welcome from the German travel sector which has campaigned against a blanket warning. But industry leaders said the move did not go far enough and called for regional travel advice. The German travel industry association, the DRV, described the change as a timid step in the right direction but said that little will change for customers and the travel industry in practical terms. DRV president Norbert Fiebig urged the foreign ministry to keep a sense of proportion with its travel warnings.

Germany imposed a worldwide warning on March 17. This was lifted to most European destinations on June 15 but remained in place for more than 160 countries including Turkey, Egypt, the US, and the Caribbean.

Germany is one of the key traditional source markets for the Maldives tourism industry. In 2019, Germany recorded an 11.9% year-over-year increase with  131,561 tourists arrival, 7.7% of the total arrivals from 117,532 in 2018. This growth enabled Germany to retain its position as the fourth biggest source market.

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