Maldives to offer COVID-19 vaccine for tourists starting from November

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that Maldives will begin offering COVID-19 vaccine for tourists starting from November.

Speaking to Sun, Minister Mausoom noted that the decision to offer vaccine for tourists once the eligible population in the Maldives becomes fully vaccinated – was one that had been announced by the government earlier on as well, and forecasted to be implemented sometime in the last quarter of this year. In this regard, he added that discussions were currently underway regarding the matter with the Health Ministry.

Minister Mausoom further said that vaccine is being offered to tourists as a ‘thank you’ – for choosing to spend their holidays in the Maldives amidst a pandemic even when the vaccine was not offered.

“Since most vaccines consist of double doses – I think tourists who come for long stays will be opting for inoculation. Vaccine tourism is in no way – a tool used for promotion of tourism,” he had said.

Speaking further, Minister Mausoom said that offering the COVID-19 vaccine to tourists is something done for the sake of them – for their ease. He also said that tourism is flourishing at the moment – adding that the industry is presently witnessing a never seen before peak season.

“The numbers of this August – is better than that of August 2019, by three percent. So, it is possible for us to say that the numbers have recovered,” he detailed.

However, Minister Mausoom stressed that the tourism industry will rebound to pre-pandemic levels when everyone becomes employed – and the subsequent income received starts directly benefiting the employees.

“We are seeing a very good trend in the Maldives. The duration tourists stay for has increased. On an average – a tourist stays for eight days,” he added.

A large percentage of the eligible population has completed the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Maldives. As of present, 392,887 people have received their first dose and 344,123 people have been fully vaccinated.