The Maldives has recorded over 100,000 tourist arrivals to the Indian Ocean destination in 2021, during the same month it has launched the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in the country.
On 17 February 2021, a total of 147,744 tourist arrivals were recorded in the Maldives, and according to the Ministry of Tourism, 29,591 of these arrivals took place between 1 – 10 February. At present, the top source market for tourist arrivals is Russia, followed by India. Other top markets include France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Romania, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
During the same month, on 1 February 2021, the Maldives commenced the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed were two of the first to receive doses of vaccine, along with other government officials, and frontline workers. The vaccine was administered at a special ceremony held at the Malé Social Center, launching the COVID-19 vaccinations in the Maldives. Vaccines will initially be administered in Malé City, Addu City and Kulhudhuffushi.
President Ibrahim Solih explained the government aims to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to all citizens and residents of the Maldives in the coming months and emphasised the importance of individual responsibility and caution even during this time of renewed hope.
As of 10 February 2021, 20,161 people have been vaccinated in the Maldives, with the process ongoing vigilantly. The Ministry of Tourism also launched an initiative to vaccinate workers in the tourism sector to create an even safer scenario for the industry. The minister of tourism, Dr Abdulla Mausoom, stated that vaccination arrangements will be made in resorts for the convenience of resort employees and added that vaccination teams will travel to bigger resorts in the coming months.
The initiation of the vaccination drive aims to bring hope to the local population, as well as ensure the safety of holidaymakers in order to drive a surge in tourism to the destination, alongside the current health and safety measures already in place.
Currently, there are over 140 resorts and over 330 guesthouses in operation in the Maldives, along with over 135 liveaboards and 11 hotels. There are 27 airlines connecting the Maldives to the rest of the world at this time. Whilst there is no mandatory quarantine for arrivals, all tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to departure and submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted a maximum of 96 hours prior to departure to the Maldives.