Tired of waiting for that text, email, or cell phone call from your local health agency to get your vaccination?
You are not alone, and this why The Maldives tourism department has just announced plans to offer the coronavirus vaccine to international travelers in a move to boost travel.
The South Asian nation has dubbed their innovative tourist campaign ‘3V’ (Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation), and will provide shots to international travelers. The vaccination rollout for tourists will start once residents have been vaccinated first.
“The main idea of tourism being open is to provide a reasonably safe tourism with minimum inconvenience,” says Abdulla Mausoom, Tourism Minister to the press. “So once the country gets vaccinated, then we will move on to ‘3V’ tourism.”
Nearly 90 percent of the country’s frontline workers have been fully vaccinated (two shots), and over half of the population has received the first dose.
If you have been fully vaccinated, then you have lots of choices to visit other countries, like Iceland, Belize, and Ecuador, to name a few, and the same holds true with The Maldives. However, The Maldives is the first country to offer the vaccine to international travelers.
Felicia Di Francesco, who has owned and operated Condello Travel in Vaughan, ON, since 1987, says she has seen some pretty impressive travel campaigns over the years, but this one will definitely get people’s attention.
“3V is enticing and brilliant,” she laughs, “and it’s a great way to get people to visit ‘the sunny side of life.’”
It’s no secret, The Maldives is a glamorous location with its Indian Ocean beaches and overwater bungalows, and it is now allowing U.S. visitors entry, so long as they have been fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travelers require a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival.
The Maldives has also just set an ambitious tourist goal: 1.5 million tourist arrivals for 2021 (350,000 of those have already been accounted for as of mid-April of this year).
Before you pack your bikini, swimsuit, suntan lotion, beach towel, sandals, and beach hat, Felicia still recommends you work with a travel agent before departing to The Maldives.
“The Maldives is offering a great incentive for international travelers and I applaud their innovation and determination with growing their tourism sector and overall economy, but I am telling everyone to always be careful,” says the owner of Vaughan’s most widely known boutique, full-service travel agency.
Why you need a travel agent
Whether you go to The Maldives, or Banff for that matter, a travel agent will have your entire trip all in check.
Here are Felicia’s top reasons why you need a travel agent before you pack:
- While there are many online booking agencies, travel agents offer that personal touch, and they will go that extra mile to get you good deals on flights and accommodations.
- Travel agents not only book your flights, accommodations, and transportation, but they will be there for you if something goes wrong, like with your reservation, or a spike in the pandemic. They have insider information that most people don’t have, and they will help act as your advocate in the event something goes wrong.
- Let’s say you want to visit multiple cities and throw in a cruise along the way; travel agents are the ones who will help plan and book your full trip so that you don’t have to worry about all the little details.
- A travel agent will not only book your trip, but they will also ensure that you have all the right insurance, which includes cancelation and healthcare.
- Travel agents are also in the know on where to go and where not to go, and they will help you navigate safely while far away from home. For example, they will keep you far away from crime ridden areas and questionable zones that have experienced earthquakes, wildfires, and the list could go on.
- Most of all, travel agents are experts in their field, which means they are experienced in booking travel and traveling the world themselves, so they can recommend interesting destinations and offer suggestions so that you can explore off-the-beaten-track locations.
- Lastly – travel agents are fully in the know on vaccination rules for entry to other countries and if you still need a negative COVID-19 test before departure time.
“Travel agents make travel ‘extraordinary’ and now with the world opening back up, more people will utilize them than ever before,” says Felicia. “Consumers want that true piece of mind before getting on the plane, and they will turn to us for all their travel needs to feel more confident and safer.”