One of the most useful complementary items we’ve received in the Maldives in the past year was especially apropos to the headline event of the past year – face masks. Lot of companies have produced logo’ed facemasks as a combination of courtesy and promotion, but Amilla’s were special vented versions the big advantage of which is that they didn’t fog up your glasses (if you were passing your transit time reading) or your sunglasses. As a result of this benefit, this mask is one of the ones I have used the most when I came home. And their light, white material made them especially suitable for the tropics.
While yesterday’s long awaiting press conference by the British government on the COVID lockdown roadmap didn’t provide a clear reassurance that foreign travel will resume in May, the overall gist was extremely positive. The Prime Minister said he remained “hopeful” about sticking to the roadmap, but also admonished everyone to not “underestimate the challenges”. A further update is expected next week and much speculation exists around a return to the “traffic light” system of different protocols for different countries. Fortunately, the Maldives is one of the destinations that meet the criteria for the “green” travel corridor with its high penetration of vaccination and low/declining incidence of COVID.
If you want to play it extra safe for fear of the rules changing mid-holiday or some other eventuality hitting which might frustrate your timely return, then Sun Siyam has introduced a quarantine guarantee at its Olhuveli and Iru Veli resorts. Maldives Insider resports:
- “Sun Siyam Resorts, the luxury Maldivian hotel and resort brand, has introduced a first-of-its-kind offer at two of its resorts: free quarantine for Indians staying at Sun Siyam Olhuveli and Sun Siyam Iru Veli. The offer, available for stays in March and April, will enable Indian travellers to visit the two resorts without having to worry about extra costs involved in mandatory quarantine if they test positive for Covid-19. Most airlines and destinations require a negative PCR test result, so tourists have to undergo testing before their departure from the Maldives. If they test positive, they have to quarantine for 14 days. In cases where guests test positive for Covid-19 during their stay at Sun Siyam Olhuveli or Sun Siyam Iru Veli, they don’t have to worry about paying for their quarantine; the resort will cover accommodation and other necessary expenses for the entire duration of government-mandated quarantine.”
The Maldives is en route to another world leading mark – the country getting the highest proportion of its population vaccinated the fastest. Already, they have one of the highest proportion of their country vaccinated. For countries over 100,000 in population, the Maldives is only surpassed by Israel, OAE and the UK. And their current rate of penetration surpasses everyone.
As I noted in my December visit, with so much of their economy dependent on tourism (in fact, the highest proportion of GDP in the world), the pandemic’s effect on travel means a double whammy to their country from this disease. From the outset, they have had strong incentive to tackle COVID-19 and to make extra investments in ensuring the safety of their destination. And that includes aggressive vaccination of the population especially in recent weeks. Of the Top 20 counties with the highest dependency on tourism, the Maldives was the runaway leader in proportion of population vaccinated (of countries over 100k population, see chart below).
Those investments appear to be paying off. Maldives visitor numbers have rebounded strongly. In fact, the Maldives appears to be turning adversity to advantage as many people around the world are extra keen on the Maldives’ distinctive isolation to protect themselves during the pandemic. And as lock-downs have transformed the degree to which people can and do work remotely, people have all the more freedom to escape to the Maldives and work from there. If you are forced to hunker down and avoid contact with people, what better place to do it than a villa in paradise?