Backpacking? Island hopping? City breaks? These distant memories are set to be things of the past because there’s a new type of travel in town – vaccine tourism. With the Covid-19 vaccine set to become almost a literal must-have in order to travel this summer, putting travel and vaccines together seems the perfect solution to any pandemic travel woes – or so the Maldives believes. The stunning archipelago is set to offer the vaccine to unvaccinated tourists heading their way, a novel way of boosting tourism in these tourist-stricken times. Here’s everything you need to know about this story.
Maldives Set To Offer Vaccine – What Travelers Should Know
With their 1,190 islands known for their stunning white sand, crystal clear water, and mesmerizing Indian ocean backdrop, the Maldives have long since been a dream destination for most travelers in search of beauty. Now, with vaccine tourism on the cards, they may be the dream of travelers for an altogether different region.
The Maldives are no strangers to making headlines during the pandemic, becoming one of the first countries to reopen in July last year. Almost a year on from that announcement of reopening, with international travel still at a standstill, tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom made an announcement this week that is sure to bring travelers flocking back to their unrivaled shores.
The minister revealed a new travel strategy for the Maldives, called the “3V” strategy – “visit, vaccinate, and vacation” – which he hopes will provide a more convenient way for travelers to be able to visit the country.
Mausoom revealed that before vaccinating tourists can begin, the population of the Maldives must be vaccinated first. To date, 53% of the country’s residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, with that number rising to 90% of front-line tourism staff. Mausoom refused to commit to a timeline of when foreign travelers can expect to be vaccinated in the country but stressed he wasn’t worried about supplies of the vaccine running out.
Speaking about supply, he said: “I don’t think supply’s a problem in the Maldives because our population is relatively small. The quota we get from the various organizations and friendly nations also will help.” With other countries in the region laboring behind the Maldives when it comes to vaccine distribution, getting vaccinated in paradise might prove to be too good to resist for many.
The Maldives In 2021 – The Current Travel Situation
With around 67% of the Maldives’ GDP deriving from the tourism sector, it comes an as little surprise that the country is adopting a bold new approach to lure tourists back to their islands. The country has set relatively ambitious targets of 1.5 million tourist arrivals and 10 million bed nights this year. So far, the country has received 350,000 arrivals, many of which have come from nearby India, thanks to entry requirements that have made travel to the country easy. Mushroom also explained that some wealthy individuals are using the Maldives for “workstations”, or working vacations.
At present, there are at least 500 resorts and guest houses open to international travelers, but the capital city of Malé is closed. In order to be able to visit the Maldives, travelers must have a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and proof of hotel booking to gain entry.