We’ve been hearing a lot about vaccine passports and destinations getting creative with ways to lure travelers—like offering to subsidize your travel costs on a trip to Malta this summer. But a glamorous group of islands in the Indian Ocean just announced an idea we can get onboard with: The Maldives are planning to give travelers a Covid-19 vaccination when they arrive on vacation.
This new initiative, which the country’s tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom announced on CNBC, is just one part of three-pronged attempt to revive the country’s economy. Mausoom calls it a “3V” strategy—“visit, vaccinate and vacation.” The date when it will go into effect hasn’t been announced yet.
Like many other destinations that depend on tourism, the Maldives has been hard hit during the pandemic. Tourism accounts for about 28% of the Maldives’ economy. Typically, upwards of 1.7 million visitors come to the Maldives every year. In 2020, the archipelago saw less than a third of that number, with 555,494 foreigners vacationing in these idyllic islands—though that was actually considered a success story.
Since July 2020, the Maldives has allowed travelers from any country to visit. Foreign visitors must have with a certificate of a negative PCR test that must be taken within the 96 hours prior to departure. Visitors also have to download a national contact tracing app and use it during their journey. According to Mausoom, the country will soon be making an announcement that it will allow people who are vaccinated to enter, restriction-free.
The CDC has the country at a level 4 for a very-high level of Covid, though numbers have been decreasing in this island nations, with 90 new infections reported on average each day. According to Reuters, about 18.6% of the country’s 500,000 residents are fully vaccinated, and Mausoom says that 90% of its front-line tourism workers have been vaccinated.
Given the prospect of this exciting new initiative, we think it’s an ideal time to start dreaming about a trip to these dreamy islands. Check out these photos of the most beautiful places in the Maldives.
Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
An idyllic palm-fringed paradise, Six Senses Laamu, Maldives combines luxury and sustainability. An award-winning marine conservation initiative based at the resort focuses on research, guest education and community outreach goals. And for budding conservationists age 6 to 16, there’s a unique Junior Marine Biology program.
Anantara Kihavah Villas
A promise of great adventures awaits at Anantara Kihavah Villas. Go snorkeling with manta rays, stargaze at the only over water observatory in the Maldives and enjoy fine dining underwater at SEA, the world’s first oceanic restaurant and wine cellar. The resort also has the largest collection of private pool residences in the world.
An adults-only paradise, Hurawalhi Maldives is famous for its 5.8 Underwater Restaurant. It’s located in the Lhaviyani Atoll, where there are more than 50 dive sites within easy reach.
Soneva in Aqua
Travelers can now set sail from the barefoot luxury resort Soneva Fushi on a new four-day, three-night Goidhoo experience aboard the Soneva in Aqua yacht. The yacht offers an ultra-luxury escape to the island of Goidhoo, which can only be reached by boat, is not often frequented by divers and surfers and offers a rare untouched paradise full of vibrant marine life and corals.
For ocean and beach lovers, COMO Maalifushi is well regarded for its diving and surf breaks. One of the newest water excursions is the Whale Shark Night Snorkel. Guests are taken on a boat from the resort to find the largest fish in the sea. The clear Maldivian waters allow for an aquarium-like view of the gentle giants.
Niyama Private Islands Maldives
Set on two islands, Niyama Private Islands Maldives is the only luxury resort in the Maldives with its own wave breaking onto the shore. After a day’s surfing, guests can hang out at the Surf Shack with its tomato-red food truck, comfy bean bags and seaside swings, relaxing to a reggae soundtrack. The hotel’s 134 villas, suites, and pavilions are dotted along the beaches and extend out over the lagoon
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands aims to bring families together, spark curiosity in young minds and challenge the notion that getting away from it all means sitting still.
Velaa Private Island
In 2020, Velaa Private Island planted 2,000 new corals and is now seeing a surge in tropical fish and thriving marine life in the transplant areas. This year, Velaa offers eco-conscious guests the chance to shadow the coral biologists by collecting research as they snorkel and plant new corals themselves.
The Nautilus Maldives
The Nautilus Maldives has launched a new adrenaline-fueled adventure: skydiving, allowing adrenaline-lovers to jump from heights of 12,000 feet above the Indian Ocean and enjoy a full 360-degree view of the baa atoll.
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island
An exclusive resort with 15 overwater villas, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island has a fully-inclusive ‘Anything, Anytime, Anywhere’ approach. All private dining, access to an expansive wine cellar, spa treatments and water experiences are fully included in the price per night.