MORE than 5,000 Brits jetted off to the Maldives during the height of lockdown despite the travel ban.
Holidaymakers joined "tone deaf" social media influencers in flooding beaches abroad.
🦠 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates…
Official figures show 2,074 British passport holders landed in the South Asian country in January, The Telegraph reports.
This rose to 3,126 in February, according to the Maldives' Ministry of Tourism.
Although no tour operators have run trips during lockdown, flights have continued, with thousands seemingly breaking the rules.
Resorts, which the luxury destination is known for, are also open.
An industry source said: "We have not been sending holidaymakers abroad since the Tier 4 restrictions came into force before Christmas.
"While we've been abiding by the rules, what these figures show is that some people feel they are above the law.
"They are pretty galling when we've been treading water trying to keep our businesses afloat."
Brits are currently barred from travelling abroad and could face fines of up to £5,000 for breaking the rules.
But British Airways flies direct to Malé, the capital of the Maldives, twice a week, with a host of indirect flights from other countries.
UK arrivals into the country must hold a negative Covid test and must quarantine for 10 days when they return to Britain.
But the restrictions haven't stopped Instagram influencers flooding beach resorts in the Maldives and Dubai for 'work' purposes.
Former Love Island contestant Georgia Steel spent weeks holidaying in the UAE before jetting off to the Maldives for another luxury break.
And social media star Mia Sally was slammed as "one of the worst Instagram show-offs" after asking her followers which Maldives resorts were the best when she could no longer stay in Dubai.
Upon arrival in the country, Mia said: "I wanted to get ahead of any negative stories to make it clear, this is first and foremost a work related trip."
Meanwhile TikTok travel influencer Barbora Ondrackova was slammed for posting a "tone deaf" video of all her 2020 holidays – including lavish restaurants and hotel stays.
Other attention-seeking celebs who have flocked to sunny holiday spots while the 'stay at home' message was in place include former Love Island contestant Georgia Harrison who spent a whopping 92 days on sunshine breaks since November.
In an attempt to justify her first trip, Georgia said: "I flew somewhere safe and beautiful rather than sitting in a flat. Who wouldn't if they could?"
Love Island runners-up Molly-Mae Hague and boxer Tommy Fury also managed to escape to Dubai and the Maldives in December.
After the couple were criticised for heading abroad, Molly-Mae reminded her social media followers that they had left the UK when Cheshire was under Tier 2 restrictions, allowing international travel.
The sheer number of Brits visiting the Maldives emerged after it was revealed that thousands of foreign tourists are being allowed into the UK every day despite Brits being banned from travelling.
Of the 20,000 people arriving at British borders, around 40 per cent – or 8,000 – are holidaymakers, according to Border Force estimates shared with The Times.
Hundreds of visitors are granted holiday visas issued by the Home Office.
One visitor from Peru was granted a visa after writing on their application form that the reason for their trip to the UK was to "visit Big Ben".
A Border Force source said hundreds of people visiting the UK each day are "basically coming here on a two-week holiday" and the agency has "no grounds to refuse them".
"As long as they’ve got an address where they say they’ll quarantine, and they’ve completed their pre-departure tests, they’ve got their certificates and everything else, they’ve got means and a return ticket, we’ve got no grounds to refuse them," they added.
Almost half of people arriving in the UK are tourists, but this jumps to 80 or 90 per cent at Gatwick and Eurostar terminals.
The proportion at Heathrow Airport is between 20 and 30 per cent, according to data gathered by whistle-blowers.
Source: Read Full Article