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Summary | 9 Annotations
In most destinations, being a million tourists short over the previous year would be a huge cause for concern, the result of a horrible natural disaster. But that was before 2020, and before the coronavirus pandemic changed the way we travel forever.
2021/02/18 13:25
The Maldives, an Indian Ocean island archipelago practically synonymous with romance, normally sees north of 1.7 million visitors per year. In 2020, it had around 500,000. And despite the significant decrease, it marks one of the most successful tourism stories amid the pandemic.
2021/02/18 13:25
Part of the decision was financial. According to data from Michigan State University, tourism contributes 28% of the Maldives's GDP, one of the highest totals in the world.
2021/02/18 13:25
The country's geography also lends itself well to coronavirus protocols. Many hotels and resorts are on their own private islands -- there are more than a thousand to choose from, even before man-made islands come into the equation -- which makes isolating and social distancing exceptionally easy.
2021/02/18 13:25
The Maldives' heavy reliance on ultra-luxury resorts also worked in its favor when it came to testing and social distancing. For example, some high-end properties conduct additional in-resort Covid testing as an added layer of protection against the spread of the virus.
2021/02/18 13:26
"Our biggest advantage is the unique geographical features of Maldives," he says, adding that the implementation of strict hygiene protocols combined with the ease of spreading people on different islands made a compelling combination for travelers who wanted to get away from it all. "We promoted the destination as a safe haven to the tourists."
2021/02/18 13:26
As a direct response to the increased amount of time visitors were spending in the Maldives and the fact that most people were going digital-only for work and school, the resort devised a special package for guests staying a full month. The 28-day offering includes meals, high-speed internet, wellness activities and use of a kids' club and is priced from $42,600 for a family of four. They weren't the only ones. The Anantara Veli dug in even further, selling "all you can stay" packages for unlimited bookings for up to a year at a cost of $30,000. Another luxurious property, The Nautilus Maldives, promoted a "workation" package priced from $23,250 for seven days.
2021/02/18 13:26
Many Maldivians who work in hospitality found themselves effectively "stranded in paradise," forced to stay at the resorts where they worked in order to look after just a handful of guests. Two staff members at the Kuredu Island Resort & Spa tested positive for the virus in March 2020. As a precaution, the entire resort was locked down. While quarantining on a postcard-pretty tropical beach wasn't the worst possible scenario for the guests, it wasn't as dreamy for the staff members who were charged with keeping the place running indefinitely.
2021/02/18 13:26
However, the numbers alone show that despite reopening the Maldives has been able to keep the pandemic largely in check.As of February 2021, the country has had 17,828 confirmed cases and just 58 deaths.
2021/02/18 13:26