The Maldives is planning to offer Covid vaccines to visitors

This tropical destination is taking tourist incentives to a new level
The Maldives is planning to offer Covid vaccines to visitors

The Maldives are known for its pristine beaches and crystal waters.

With the tourism industry left battered by the pandemic, many nations are trying to come up with original ways of attracting international travellers this summer.

The Maldives may put everyone to shame, however, with its government's recent announcement of plans to offer both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to visitors later this year.

"The main idea of tourism being open is to provide a reasonably safe tourism with minimum inconvenience," Maldivian tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom told US network CNBC this week. 

"So once the country gets vaccinated, then we will move on to '3V' tourism."

The 3V campaign, which stands for ‘visit, vaccinate, vacation,’ aims to rejuvenate revenues for the South Asian country, whose economy largely depends on tourism. 

The island nation, made up of 1,200 small coral islands and sandbanks, is known for its crystal waters and luxurious accommodation offerings, which are favored by holidaymakers worldwide.

The country closed to visitors briefly when the pandemic hit last March but reopened by July. The year's total figure of 550k tourists was a shadow of 2019's 1.7m. 

The Maldives is currently open to travellers who are either vaccinated against or test negative for the virus, with about 350k tourists visiting so far this year and an aim of 1.5m visitors set for 2021.

Mausoom said, however, that this number is still short of usual expectations and officials are hoping that offering vaccinations for tourists may drive more traffic. 

"When we reach this year’s target, still we will have a shortfall of what the country needs," he said. 

We have got enough [vaccine] supply for the local population, the resident population, so once that is done…we will have enough [for tourists].

About 90 percent of the country's frontline workers have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and over half of the 530k population has received at least one dose. 

The country has received vaccine donations from India, China, and the Covax scheme, with additional supplies already ordered from Singapore, according to Mausoom.

While the idea of getting vaccinated on holidays seems attractive, the World Health Organization has said that it doesn't support such programmes while there is a global vaccine shortage.

Here in Ireland, over 852k vaccine doses have been administered so far, with the possibility of extending the time interval between the first and second Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses being explored.

The Maldives is currently listed in the Irish government's high-level risk category, meaning anyone flying into Ireland from the country will need to complete mandatory hotel quarantine.

Over 25k confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 67 deaths have been recorded in the Maldives since last year.

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