The Maldives To Launch Vaccine Tourism Scheme

April 18th, 2021
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Waiting for a vaccine could go on longer than you might expect. Well, what if an alternative was enjoying a holiday in a sunkissed tropical paradise while also getting vaccinated against COVID-19? That is what the Maldives offers tourists as a ‘vaxcation.’

Medical tourism typically refers to tourists traveling to various countries for medical reasons, but the Maldives is now adding a new ring to the phrase. The island offers tourists the opportunity to get vaccinated while on holidays on the beautiful island.

The initiative is referred to as the 3V project, as the tourism minister, Abdulla Mausoom, invites tourists from all over the world to ‘visit, vaccinate and vacation.’ The minister hopes that the new initiative will be a ‘more convenient way to visit the archipelago. Before the 3V project, tourists were required to take a PCR test and prove their hotel reservations before entering the country.

The Maldives is very dependent on tourism, with more than 1.5 million tourists visiting the island each year. The tourism industry generates 67% of the nation’s GDP, so with pandemic restrictions globally, the country needs to find efficient ways to revive its travel industry quickly.

Mausoom didn’t give a specific date for the launch of the ‘3V’ program, but he expressed hope that the announcement would be made by the country’s Health Protection Agency soon enough. The Maldives will also soon begin allowing visitors who have received both doses of the vaccine.

The tourism Minister also said that the country’s citizens would be vaccinated first as soon as possible. Of the 53% that have already received their first dose, are 90% of front-line workers and tourism workers. So the government would wait until all its citizens have been vaccinated with both shots before launching the program.

While the cost of the vaccination of tourists is unclear for now, Mausoom believes that supply won’t be an issue. He told CNBC, “I don’t think supply’s a problem in the Maldives because our population is relatively small. The quota we get from the various organizations, and friendly nations also will help.”