[Article updated to include new flight information]
During a recent interview with CNBC, Maldives Tourism Minister, Abdulla Mausoom announced the island nation’s plans to introduce a “vaccine on arrival” scheme as part of its “three-pronged initiative” aimed at reviving the country’s hard-hit tourism sector.
Dubbed 3V, the strategy aims to encourage travellers to “visit, vaccinate, and vacation” in the Maldives. According to the Reuters vaccination tracker, 90% of front-line tourism staff have received their first dose and so have around 53% of the island nation’s approximately 530,000 residents.
Mausoom told CNBC, that with the country’s relatively small population, its vaccine supplies donated from India, China, and the World Health Organisation’s Covax scheme, plus additional doses from Singapore, should be sufficient to cover the country and tourists too. He did not confirm whether visitors will need to pay for their shots.
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The Maldives was among the first tourist destinations to reopen to visitors in 2020 and is one of the few countries currently open to South African travellers. The nation’s scattered islands offer guests a variety of isolated luxury retreats where social distancing is given. From this month, there is no quarantine requirement for those travelling to an island in the chain where at least 60% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
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An official launch date for the Maldives tourist vaccine scheme has not been confirmed yet, the Maldivian government said intends to have many of the country’s tourist resorts open during July and August.
Update: Air Seychelles, however, confirmed this week that it will start flying from OR Tambo to the Maldives capital of Malé (a nine-hour flight) from 11 June 2021, with flights starting at under $450 one way – under R13,000 for a return ticket. The flight will stop in Seychelles to refuel, but since passengers never leave the plane, South African travellers will not be affected by the Seychelles travel ban on the country.
The new flights offered by Air Seychelles are also part of a package holiday starting at roughly R16,000 per person and includes flights, accommodation, all meals, and transfers for one week only. The cost of your second-week stay (the recommended period between the first and second dose of many vaccines) will need to be arranged and paid for separately.
Alternatively, return flights via Qatar are currently selling for around R16,000 per person. For more info on flights, visit CheapFlights.
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All Photos by Asad Photo Maldives | Pexels