The Maldives have announced an ambitious plan to revive tourism. The Indian Ocean archipelago wants to offer tourists a corona vaccine upon arrival as part of a three-pronged plan to revitalize the hard-hit tourism industry.
The Maldives is an archipelago consisting of 1,190 coral islands in the Indian Ocean southwest of India. Two hundred islands are inhabited and another 88 are tourist resorts. Tourism is the country’s biggest source of income and so its economy has obviously been hit hard by the corona pandemic.
During the entire corona crisis, the Maldives have therefore done everything to minimize the impact on tourism. They closed their borders early on, but everything reopened in July. Until September 2020, tourists did not even have to submit a negative corona test, something that is now mandatory.
Despite these measures, the number of tourists visiting the country fell sharply in 2020. In 2019, the island state saw 1.7 million international visitors, which fell to just over half a million a year later. This year, the Maldives already saw 350,000 visitors and hopes to reach 1.5 million tourists. “If we reach this year’s target, it will still not be enough, but it will be more than we could have hoped for by the end of 2020,” Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom told CNBC.
“Visit, vaccinate and vacation“
To achieve that goal, Mausoom has devised a “3R” strategy: “visit, vaccinate and vacationOr “visits, vaccinations and holidays”. The country thus plans to offer visitors corona vaccines upon arrival.
We still have to wait for those plans, because of course our own population must first be vaccinated. So far, 53 percent of the population has received a first dose, including 90 percent of frontline tourism workers. The Maldives received vaccines for this from China, India and the World Health Organization and ordered additional from Singapore.