“And after a standard temperature check upon arrival at the hotel, guests in the Maldives can roam freely, they only need to wear a mask indoors, with similar restrictions applicable in the Seychelles,” added Curtis.
However, many travel professionals feel that the real game changer is that both countries will accept any fully vaccinated visitors. And with the global rollout expected to accelerate, as more vaccines are approved and manufactured, island nations will be the catalyst for increased international leisure travel.
Other islands with great potential for the Middle East’s outbound market are Sri Lanka, Cyprus and the Greek islands. Emirates and Etihad operate seven flights a week to Colombo and visitors need a negative PCR test 96 hours before arrival and then two further tests within the next seven days. The Sri Lankan government aims to have the entire country of over 21 million vaccinated by the end of 2021, currently that figure stands at around 500,000.
“With three weekly flights from Dubai, Cyprus is another interesting case and from April, it will welcome Israeli tourists who have had both vaccination doses,” said Curtis.
The Greek authorities aim to vaccinate the vast majority of their 10.35 million population by this summer (more than 725,000 have been vaccinated so far) to help revive their tourism sector and again Greece is well connected with five weekly flights between Dubai and Athens.