Starved of holidayers, the Maldives have decided to take a radical measure. It is offering its future tourists full vaccination against COVID-19.
While some countries have vaccinated almost their entire population, such as Israel, this is not the case everywhere. In fact, in some European countries, access to the COVID-19 vaccine is still restricted by age. A situation that the Maldives wish to take advantage of, and soon. Rather than setting up a controversial vaccine passport, the country with 26 atolls located in the Indian Ocean intends to offer those who may want it their two doses of vaccine.
Heaven on crutches
Renowned for their paradisiacal beaches, the Maldives based the majority of their economy on tourism. But the pandemic brought the gravy train to a brutal, grinding halt. The country has thus plummeted from more than 1.7 million annual visitors before the pandemic, to 555,494 in 2020.
Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom told CNBC International:
In order to revive the country, 'the idea is to offer a tourist offer with the least inconvenience. Once the country is fully vaccinated, we can turn to this 3V strategy.
These 3Vs stand for: 'Visit, vaccination, and vacation.' This 3V package offers an advantage for the Maldives, as it means that tourists will have to stay for several weeks in the country in between shots. On the other hand, the minister did not specify whether the vaccines would be invoiced, or at what price.
Still, exercise patience
If you are interested in this all-purpose trip, know that you will have to wait a bit. The country will not be able to enact this offer, the local population must have been fully vaccinated before. So far, 53% of residents have received their first dose. But the minister is confident, indicating that due to the small population of the Maldives, everyone would soon be vaccinated... and ready to welcome tourists for the 'vaccination package.'