Maldives Plans To Offer Vaccines To Tourists

Filed Under: Travel

The Maldives is heavily reliant on tourism, as the sector makes up 67% of the country’s GDP. The country briefly shut down due to coronavirus in early 2020, and then reopened in July 2020 with limited restrictions. Ultimately the Maldives is a relatively low-risk place to go, in the sense that almost everything is outdoors, and that it’s easy to maintain distance from others.

The country is continuing its quest to revive tourism with a couple of further initiatives, which might put the Maldives on some peoples’ radars.

Maldives plans to offer vaccines to visitors

Maldives tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom has revealed the country’s “3V” strategy, including “visit, vaccinate, and vacation.” The country hopes to welcome 1.5 million tourists and 10 million bed nights in 2021.

As part of this, the Maldives plans to soon offer vaccinations on arrival to tourists:

  • The government’s priority is to first vaccinate all residents; so far 53% of residents have received at least their first shot, including 90% of frontline tourism workers
  • After that — with a timeline that remains to be seen — visitors will also be offered vaccines on arrival

The Maldives has so far received vaccine donations from India, China, and the World Health Organization, and the country has also ordered more supply from Singapore.

Still, there are more questions than answers as of now:

  • Will visitors have to pay for their vaccines?
  • Which vaccines will be offered to visitors?
  • What are the plans for getting people their second dose?
  • Will vaccination on arrival be entirely voluntary, or mandatory?

The tourism minister claims that supply won’t be an issue for this initiative:

“I don’t think supply’s a problem in Maldives because our population is relatively small. The quota we get from the various organizations and friendly nations also will help.”

The Maldives isn’t alone in considering offering vaccines to visitors, as Serbia has had a similar program.

The Maldives will soon offer vaccines to visitors

Vaccinated visitors now exempt from restrictions

In addition to potentially offering vaccines on arrival, the Maldives has now lifted testing requirements for vaccinated travelers. Previously even vaccinated travelers needed to get tested in order to visit, while that’s no longer the case.

Effective immediately, no negative PCR test is required for those who are fully vaccinated, which includes those who received their last recommended vaccine dose at least two weeks ago.

Vaccinated visitors will soon be exempt from testing requirements

Bottom line

The Maldives has been hard hit by coronavirus, given how dependent the country is on tourism. Fortunately the country has been open since last July, and has proven a popular destination for many, given the opportunities to have a relatively safe holiday.

The Maldives is now no longer requiring fully vaccinated visitors to get tested. On top of that, once all residents are vaccinated, the Maldives will start offering vaccines to visitors.

What do you make of these initiatives? Has anyone visited the Maldives during the pandemic, and if so, what was your experience like?

  1. Amazing, so you can have a fever, aches, chills, and a super sore arm for the first 1-3 days of your 7 day vacation. Great idea! And maybe a blood clot!

  2. Not requiring a PCR test on entry is a mild convenience.

    But, for Americans, having easy access to a PCR test prior to departure would be a far bigger convenience.

    Interestingly, these vaccines that the Maldives are offering tourists were all *donated* to them by other countries. Interesting ploy.

  3. This would be useless for Americans in my opinion. I’ll just get vaccinated at home with a trusted doctor’s office or pharmacy. Since we in the US are being easily offered a vaccine from the comfort of our own local centers, there’s no need to get vaccinated by them. For the rest, however, this will be huge. Many countries in Europe & Asia are absolutely screwed by the slow rollout & complete lack of vaccines available. Just look at Poland, Germany, Italy, India etc., they are absolutely desperate for any sort of vaccine imports, some are even willing to buy untested & unrecognized Chinese vaccines that seem to be unregulated placebos, as in the case of Hungary. For NZ & Australians, this will be useless because they’ll be disallowed any travel for perhaps the next 3-5 years, as they have 0 interest in vaccinations & both countries’ citizens have shown extreme reluctance to get a jab since their case loads are so low. Both countries haven’t really started vaccinations so far & have no real intentions to purchase any reasonable amount of vaccine doses. Maybe they’re foolishly thinking they’ll just wait it out until the rest of the world is immune. Either way, this plan sounds great on paper, let’s see how it plays out in the real world.

  4. Completely unacceptable to offer to vaccinate tourists for a fee or not! They have received “donations” of vaccine from other countries, once they have fully vaccinated their citizens and other priority groups any surplus should be “donated” back to COVAX who will ensure vaccines are distributed fairly to countries who have been unable to secure a regular supply and help poorer communities around World.

  5. NSS – The country gets extra revenue from you booking a resort but not being able to partake in any of the inclusions. It’s called cleaver marketing 😉

  6. But do you still have to get tested to come back into the US (answer: yes) and if you come in close contact with someone on the plane/seaplane or end up testing positive, do you need to quarantine for 14 days still?

  7. Now we just need good ole USA to drop the stupid test requirement for its own citizens who are vaccinated just trying to come home. Does Maldives offer antigen testing or they probably just offer PCR availability as another way to gouge us on departure. Come on…

  8. How is this supposed to work. Let’s say you travel to the Maledives, get your first shot. Next shot 3 to 12 weeks after the first. By then you’ll be back home where you might or might not get access to the second shot.

    And you can’t take the second dose with you. Once at ambient temperature, the vaccines last only a limited amount of time.

  9. Is this an inducement to get more visitors: If you can’t get vaccinated in your home country, come to the Maldives and get vaccinated here? It certainly wouldn’t prevent illness while on vacation. Not withstanding the side effects, it takes 2 weeks after getting vaccinated for the body to build up immunity.

  10. Who cares, i got mine yesterday and the four people in front of me were a family that flew into the US to get the vaccine. I didnt care about that so why should i care if the Maldives offers this, if anyone has the means to travel to the maldives they probably already got the vaccine anyways or have access to it sameday like everyone in US has right now.

  11. That is great news as we have the Park Hyatt booked for a week in September flying in on a Emirates A380 in FC from LAX. We’re going to Paris from there on Qatar Biz and were planning on traveling with our wine suitcase to take wines home from France. But I was told by the Maldives Park Hyatt that it was illegal to bring wine into the country “without permission”. I wrote to their Customs office “asking for permission” and they never replied!!! Is there any hope to do that?

  12. Eh? This makes zero sense given it takes a fortnight to build up immunity after the first dose! Also what happens for your second dose? This doesn’t seem to have been thought through at all…

  13. The Maldives isn’t on my list of places to visit. Over 95% of the coral there has died. Snorkeling would be a sad experience. This destination is overhyped.

  14. Perfect news. Now Pfizer shots please. Too bad I’m living in a third world country in Europe.
    Not possible to get a vaccine here, not even if you want to pay $$$

  15. Thanks for the info, Ben. This is a brilliant strategy on the part of the Maldives. I agree with John Doe that this of no value to Americans – right now anyone in the US over age 16 can walk into their neighborhood pharmacy and get a free, high quality jab. But for those above a minimum income level in Asia, this is huge. Here in the Philippines (as elsewhere in Asia, including Malaysia), the government is strictly regulating all vaccine distribution and making it a crime to go outside of the “prioritization” list, which includes “front-liners”, government officials/employees, teachers, security guards, etc. This means it will be 2022 or 2023 before its even legal for most average, healthy, employed, under-65 year old citizens (who don’t work for the government or hold a job as a teacher, social worker or security guard) to get vaccinated at all. I foresee alot of middle and upper class Filipinos flocking to the Maldives.
    If the US was smart, they would follow the example and open the lanes for the rest of the world to come get a shot in the US. Most other countries have screwed up the distribution and the free market will have to fix it.

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