Maldives mulls vaccine tourism to boost arrivals

The Maldives is contemplating the introduction of vaccine tourism across its collection of over 200 resort islands, as tourist arrivals begin to grow in the post-pandemic era.

The proposal was made by tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom during a recent meeting of the country’s legislature, where he said that the government is considering promoting the Maldives as a working vacation destination under the tagline ‘Visit, Vaccine and Vacation’.

Amid the pandemic, the Maldives has emerged as a tourism winner, welcoming over 200,000 tourists so far this year

He added that the currently available Covid-19 vaccines require two doses of the vaccine to be received within a 10-week period – meaning, there is a significant window of time between the inoculation of the two doses in which tourists could stay in the Maldives.

According to Mausoom, the Maldives is likely to become one of the first countries to have vaccinated its entire population, making it one of the safest destinations to visit. As of March 8, more than 157,000 of the island country’s 531,000 population have received the Covid-19 vaccination. So far, the Maldives has imported 200,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca and produced by the Serum Institute of India. It has ordered 700,000 more doses.

As of March 4 this year, the Maldives has received 200,871 tourists, down however by 41.2 per cent from the number of visitors during the same period last year, according to official data. The daily average stands at over 3,000 visitors.

Meanwhile, the Maldives will be sending its first delegation headed by Mausoom to attend trade fairs and roadshows in Russia and India. Accompanying him will be 13 companies and 19 participants, said Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation managing director Thoyyib Mohamed, who will also be attending these events.

They will participate in the MITT trade show in Moscow, a B2B and B2C event taking place from March 16-18; followed by India’s South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange on March 22 along with a roadshow. The Russian event will coincide with roadshows in Moscow, Kazakhstan, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.

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