The world-renowned tropical destination of the Maldives has just become the latest country to ease its COVID-related entry restrictions, as vaccination rates around the world continue to rise and the global tide increasingly turns to treating the pandemic as endemic.

As of March 5, fully vaccinated foreign travelers are no longer required to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival in the Maldives. They also do not need to submit a PCR test before leaving the South Asian archipelago nation, according to a notice issued Friday by Maldives Immigration. However, all incoming international travelers must still complete the Travel Health Declaration Form within 48 hours of their flight.

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Especially since the Omicron variant has risen to prominence as the planet’s dominant COVID-19 strain – causing higher numbers of cases, but generally milder infections – the number of new cases is no longer considered the dominant metric. Instead, the number of hospitalizations and deaths has become a key indicator of the COVID-19 situation in a given region.

As the pandemic now enters its third year, countries whose economies continue to suffer from the loss of vital tourism revenue are removing as many barriers as possible for inbound international travellers. And, as more countries reopen, tourist destinations like the Maldives need to compete a bit more to grab their share of the available market.

With an economy heavily dependent on tourism dollars, the Maldives opened its borders fairly early in the pandemic, from July 2020. From late July 2021, all international visitors over the age of one required a negative PCR test performed within 96 hours of departure for the Maldives. Tourists leaving a guesthouse on any inhabited island also had to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Even while maintaining testing requirements as COVID-19 import countermeasures, the country has also done what it can to encourage inbound tourism and streamline the travel process by providing free 30-day visas. at the arrival.

With its abundance of private resorts and an unrivaled pristine tropical setting, the Maldives has lost none of its appeal, even with pandemic protections. It has also launched a campaign to vaccinate visitors during their stays, inviting tourists to “visit, vaccinate and go on vacation”. To further sweeten the deal, the Maldives also became the first destination in the world to launch its own loyalty program, called “Maldives Border Miles”, through which tourists earn points based on the number of visits and the duration of their stays.

According to Our world in data (a project co-produced by the University of Oxford and the Global Change Data Lab), nearly 69% of the population is now fully immunized. When vaccines became available in early 2021, the Maldives prioritized vaccinating its hospitality and tourism workforce. By the end of November 2021, 95% of resort workers had been fully vaccinated and 99% had received at least one injection.

For more information, visit visitmaldives.com