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A new travel incentive: Maldives to offer COVID-19 vaccine shots to lure tourists back

April 16, 2021
3 min read
A new travel incentive: Maldives to offer COVID-19 vaccine shots to lure tourists back
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In case lush white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters aren't enough of an incentive, the Maldives is offering visitors a new perk: vaccines on arrival.

The island nation in South Asia is believed to be the first country to offer vaccines for visitors as part of its "3V Program" -- visit, vaccinate, vacation -- to help revive tourism.

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An official start date is expected soon, but the vaccinations are seen as crucial for helping the Maldives, a bucket-list destination for many travelers, rebound after the pandemic devastated the tourism industry.

Related: Where to stay in the Maldives using points and miles

During an interview with CNBC, the country's tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom emphasized that the new vaccine program for visitors will not come at the expense of Maldives locals.

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So far, about 53% of the country's 530,000 residents have gotten their first dose of the vaccine, according to Reuters. About 90% of the frontline workers in the tourism industry there have also received at least the first shot, according to the tourism chief.

No word yet if travelers will have to pay for the vaccine, but supply doesn't appear to be a problem. The country has received vaccine donations from India, China and the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative, which aims to ensure that vaccines are fairly and equitably distributed. The Maldives has also ordered additional supplies from Singapore.

“I don’t think supply’s a problem in Maldives because our population is relatively small,” Mausoom said. “The quota we get from the various organizations and friendly nations also will help.”

Related: Maldives to become first country with its own loyalty program

Tourism is incredibly important to the country's bottom line, accounting for roughly 67% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The vaccine program is part of an effort to help the island nation achieve its modified goal of having 1.5 million visitors by the end of the year. Hitting that target would still be below pre-pandemic numbers.

The Maldives reopened to visitors last July, including travelers from the U.S., but tourism has been slow to rebound. So far in 2021, 350,000 travelers have arrived, the bulk coming from India looking to take advantage of The Maldives' limited entry requirements. Visitors still must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken with 96 hours of arrival. The country is set to make an announcement soon that vaccinated travelers will be permitted to enter without restriction.

Related: How far is too far? The murky, uncharted waters of vaccine tourism

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023