The tropical paradise islands of the Maldives were successful in containing the spread of the coronavirus while managing its tourism. In a bid to further promote tourism, Abdulla Mausoom, the Maldives Tourism Minister, announced that Maldives plans to start vaccinating tourists in the future, to provide a unique draw to a destination known for its dreamy overwater bungalows and abundant sea life.
Mausoom said on Wednesday, the Maldives will implement a “3V Program” — “visit, vaccinate, and vacation” — in an effort to draw travelers back and help the nation meet its goal of seeing 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year. So far, about 350,000 people have visited the Maldives, mainly arriving from India.
While the timeline to vaccinate visitors hasn’t been made very clear, Mausoom said the program wouldn’t start until all its residents were inoculated.
Mausoom commented, “The main idea of tourism being open is to provide a reasonably safe tourism [experience] with minimum inconvenience” adding that almost 90% of tourism frontline workers have already received their first jab. “So once the country gets vaccinated, then we will move on to ‘3V’ tourism.”
At present, just over 50% of residents have taken at least one dose of a vaccine and almost 5% have been fully vaccinated.
The Maldives has received Covid-19 vaccines from India, China, and the World Health Organization’s Covax program, and has also ordered from Singapore said Mausoom.
“I don’t think supply is a problem in Maldives because our population is relatively small,” he commented. “The quota we get from the various organizations and friendly countries also will help.”
The Maldives opened to visitors last July and continues to welcome tourists. Those entering the country must arrive with a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from a test taken not more than 96 hours prior to their departure flight. Passengers must also have a confirmed hotel booking for the duration of their visit.
While several countries have planned to welcome vaccinated tourists, the Maldives is unique in pledging its “3V Program” to help tourists get the vaccine.
And for those visitors who are already fully vaccinated, the ministry of Tourism Maldives tweeted a few hours ago, “Travel to #Maldives has become easier. No negative PCR test required for tourists who visit #Maldives two weeks (14 days) after their 2nd dose of COVID19 Vaccine.”