Fancy combining a vaccination with your next vacation? Head to the Maldives and you could receive the Covid jab in paradise. Olivia Palamountain reports
The Maldives is the latest destination to promote “Vaccine Vacations”, with a plan offer Covid jabs to tourists in a bid to entice visitors back to the islands.
Maldivian tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom said of the new “3V” tourism campaign: “The planned initiative of Covid vaccination to tourists, ‘Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation’ programme, will be rolled out once the resident population of Maldives has first been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated.
“We hope to offer vaccinations to tourists arriving in the Maldives from third quarter onward this year. [The] 3V programme is offered in appreciation of the trust and confidence tourists have in Maldives tourism. We aim to provide the safest environment possible for tourists, employees, and the public with the minimum inconvenience whilst we continue tourism in this new normal.”
At present, roughly half of the 500,000-strong population has had their first dose, while 90 per cent of Maldives frontline workers have received theirs.
Despite opening its borders in July 15 last year, with international lockdowns still in place, the country has so far struggled to make up for lost revenue.
In a further blow, the Maldives has recently been moved to the “red list”, meaning that even when UK borders open, British visitors will find it very hard to visit (read all about Globetrender’s trip to the Maldives before the transition here).
While the thought of getting jabbed in paradise has a certain surreal allure, strip the concept back and it’s actually a pretty good idea – but not without criticism.
Tourism is the largest sector of Maldives’ economy, providing for more than 57 per cent of its annual GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. So when Covid hit, it hit hard.
With the powers that be desperate to drive travellers back to the Maldives’ endless luxury resorts and hotels, this campaign could be just the ticket to give the much-loved destination the break it needs to get on the path to economic recovery.