Traveling during a global pandemic isn’t the easiest, but some places are aggressively doing their part to slow the spread of Covid-19, so travelers can feel safe and hopefully visit. Tourism is a huge economic factor for many countries, and the drive to bring travelers back, and to do so safely, is visible around the world. Some countries do an exceptional job of making sure tourists feel both safe and welcome. One of those places is the Maldives. Here’s what you need to know to travel to this remote destination in the Indian Ocean.
Vaccines and reception workers
Almost 100 percent of people working in the hospitality industry have received their first vaccine and over 50 percent have received their second. People vaccinated include everyone from general managers to receptionists, massage therapists, cooks, waiters, housekeepers and administrative staff. This aggressive vaccine rollout is one of the main reasons the Maldives attracts international visitors, including Americans. Knowing that the staff around travelers are vaccinated is a huge relief during what can be a stressful and busy travel time.
Similar to hotel workers getting vaccinated, travelers must also show they are Covid negative. Although travelers are not required to be vaccinated prior to arrival, they must show a negative PCR test before boarding their flight to the Maldives. This test should be administered no more than four days before departure. (Many airports, including New York’s JFK, offer PCR tests with results in under two hours.) Once in the Maldives complex, travelers must be retested. While many vacationers tend to stay at one resort for an extended period of time, if you plan to travel between resorts, be aware that Covid testing is required at each property.
Occupation and service
Currently, the Maldives, like many places in the world, is still not 100% functioning. Although there has been a reduction in staff at most resorts, service has not suffered. Thus, many travelers will enjoy the same expected luxury service, with fewer guests.
What makes the Maldives unique is that each resort resides on its own island. The good news is that every island, and therefore every resort, is a bubble. Travelers can really limit their exposure to local populations as well as other travelers. Plus, as many resorts in the Maldives offer overwater and beach bungalows with private plunge pools and private beach and water access, travelers can stay as secluded as they want. . For those who are comfortable interacting with others, there are plenty of activities on offer including diving, snorkeling, SUP, and kayaking.
Safety and hygiene
Most resorts in the Maldives have a number of safety and health protocols in place, including plexiglass at reception and other frequented areas. The restaurants space out the diners and the hours of service. Food can only be consumed in specific areas. And high-traffic areas, like spas and yoga classes, are limited throughout the day. The effect is a thoughtful, safe and secure vacation experience.
Why the Maldives?
The Maldives is a country located in the Indian Ocean. It is made up of 1,190 islands, 200 of which are inhabited. It has been open to visitors since July 2020 and has been incredibly successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19 with both testing and an extensive vaccine rollout.
What makes the Maldives unique compared to other destinations is that 99% of the country is covered in water, so travelers are surrounded by beaches, beautiful water, and sunshine. The population is small – just over half a million people. Plus, although there are 156 resorts in the Maldives, each is on its own island. The concept of an island, of a resort translates very well from a Covid point of view, because each resort is autonomous, so you are in your own little bubble.
One important thing to note: if you test positive on the island, you should immediately quarantine for 14 days (in a separate room, in a quarantine area, which you have to pay for). So if you are on your honeymoon or traveling with your family and your test is positive, you must be separated from your spouse or children. The positive person goes into quarantine for 14 days while the non-positive person stays in the room. This is completely understandable and justifiable, as it is the only way to bring the numbers down and stop the spread of Covid, but it is also good to know for travelers. Many places are not that aggressive with testing, so travelers might have Covid and other travelers might not know. It’s good to actively test travelers, but it’s also good to know what happens if you’re the one who tests positive.
Additionally, although testing is required, the cost of such testing may not be covered by the complex. Each resort sets its own price (around $ 100 per test). According to the tourism ministry, the number of tourists who tested positive for Covid this year is only 0.18%.