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. At the moment it has not been confirmed whether they will be free or paid-for.
Maldivian tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom said: “‘Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation’, will provide tourists with a convenient way to access shots, but the scheme will only go live once the native population has been vaccinated. The main idea of tourism being open is to provide a reasonably safe tourism with minimum inconvenience. So once the country gets vaccinated, then we will move on to ‘3V’ tourism.”
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.