(CNN) – It was one of the first countries to fully reopen to travelers, and now the Maldives is striving to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to vaccine tourism.
Indian Ocean destination officials have announced plans to offer tourists vaccinations on arrival to attract more visitors.
Abdulla Mausoom, the country’s tourism minister, has confirmed that the Maldives is developing a “3V tourism” program that would allow tourists to “visit, vaccinate and vacation”.
According to Mausoom, the country plans to offer visitors two doses of the vaccine, which means those who sign up for it will have to stay in the Maldives for several weeks.
He hopes the program will help boost tourism to the Indian Ocean archipelago, which had an average of 1.7 million visitors a year before the pandemic.
The Maldives are planning to offer travelers vaccinations to boost tourism.
Carl Court / Getty Images
International travelers who want to book a “Vaxication” package to the Maldives, however, have to wait at least for the time being.
The “3V” program will not be carried out until the entire population of the country, estimated at just under 550,000, is fully vaccinated.
“Once the land is vaccinated, we will move on to 3V tourism.”
“Our biggest asset is the Maldives’ unique geographic features,” he said, adding that the fact that guests can be spread across the different islands has proven particularly tempting for travelers, and has also made social distancing measures a little easier are to be maintained.
“We advertised the destination as a safe haven for tourists.”
Mausoom hopes the vaccination program will add even more visitor numbers, but will the bumps come from and will the Maldives be able to deliver enough to meet demand from international travelers?
“I don’t think the supply in the Maldives is a problem because our population is relatively small,” he told CNBC. “The quota that we receive from the various organizations and friendly nations will also help.”
However, he did not state whether travelers would be charged for receiving the vaccine.
There are currently at least 500 resorts and guest houses in the Maldives that are open to international visitors. However, the capital Malé is still closed.
The Maldives closed its borders in late March, but officials decided to fully reopen all international travelers without restrictions in July.
While visitors have been required to present a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival since September, the destination has continued to welcome travelers for the past few months, with cases remaining relatively low.
Lilit Marcus and Julia Buckley also contributed to this report.