Holidaymakers visiting The Maldives will soon be able to get COVID-19 vaccination on arrival to the island nation.
Tourism Minister of Maldives, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has confirmed that Maldives plans to initiate Vaccine Tourism, becoming the first of the world’s nations to offer vaccination for travellers amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The 3V initiative; Visit, Vaccinate, and Vacation, will give travellers the option to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Maldives, and is aimed to revive the country’s hard hit tourism sector.
Speaking at an interview on CNBC, Minister Mausoom said, ” The “3V” strategy, which encourages tourists to “visit, vaccinate, and vacation,” will provide a “more convenient” way to visit the country”. He said the country’s Health Protection Agency is set to make an announcement on restriction-free entry to vaccinated arrivals “very soon, maybe even this week”
The Minister also noted that the government’s priority is to ensure the entire resident population receives their first and second shots first. And once that process is complete, the country will be ready to vaccinate arrivals. He also highlighted the success of vaccinating front-line tourism staff, in which 90% has already received the first of dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Whether arrivals would be expected to pay for their shots are still unclear as more information on the initiative is yet to be published. Maldives has received vaccine donations from India, China, and the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme, which aims to ensure that vaccines are fairly and equitably distributed. According to the minister additional supply has also been ordered from Singapore. Minister said, “I don’t think supply’s a problem in Maldives because our population is relatively small, The quota we get from the various organizations and friendly nations also will help,”.
Minister Mausoom said the tourism drive was a necessary strategy to help the country reach its target of 1.5 million tourist arrivals and 10 million bed nights this year.“When we reach this year’s target, still we will have a shortfall of what the country needs, But still, that is much better than we anticipated in late 2020.” He stated further.
Minister Mausoon also highlighted workations where guests are booking longer stays for working vacations. he said he is hopeful that will continue, with tourists staying to receive both their first and second doses. “Workation, working from Maldives is now becoming very trendy, You see very rich executives, company executives, come here and they are based here.”
Maldives, an archipelago country in South Asia renowned for its tropical beaches and pristine waters, is heavily dependent on its tourism industry. Around 67% of its gross domestic product (GDP) is derived directly and indirectly from the sector.
Photo Credit: OneOnline