| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Maldives to offer Covid-19 vaccine to tourists

The Maldives has just announced plans to offer tourists the Covid-19 vaccine.

In an interview with CNBC, the country’s Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom touted a new ‘3V’ plan, that stands for Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation, as an incentive to visit the South Asian archipelago.

“The main idea of tourism being open is to provide a reasonably safe tourism with minimum inconvenience,” Mausoom said. “So once the country gets vaccinated, then we will move on to ‘3V’ tourism.”

The vaccine will be opened up for visiting tourists once residents and nationals have all been fully vaccinated. Mausoom declared that so far 90 percent of frontline tourism workers have been fully vaccinated, while approximately half of the population has received at least one dose.

At present, the Maldives is accepting visitors with a negative PCR test taken less than three days before travel, or who are fully vaccinated. Its plan to offer vacation and vaccine packages makes it the first country to do so.

The scheme hopes to boost visitor numbers to 1.5 million for 2021. With tourism making up an estimated 28 per cent of national GDP, the Maldives is keen to re-start the influx of visitors, and this new initiative aims to offer a safe and attractive environment to all guests.

During the pandemic, many tourism workers relocated to remote islands to avoid the virus, and in February 2021 the country rolled out its vaccine programme. Called Covid-19 Dhifaau, the campaign was launched by President Ibrahim Solih, and aims to fully vaccinate the population within six months.