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MAURITIUS OFFERS FREE COVID JABS TO PREMIUM VISA HOLDERS

Mauritius’ Premium Visa allows international visitors to stay on the island for up to 12 months to work remotely, retire or simply enjoy a longer holiday. The visa is renewable and best of all, it also opens the possibility for a free Covid-19 vaccination.

In November 2020, in an effort to maintain tourism activities, the government of Mauritius launched its Premium Visa. It allows visitors to spend a period of one year on the island working in an environment reminiscent of a postcard-style paradise.

Authorities hope the new scheme will encourage longer stays from retirees, nomadic travellers and wealthy visitors in order to help offset the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the tourism sector. The Premium Visa is also easily renewable, providing added flexibility to travellers.

Mauritius’s economy remains highly dependent on tourism. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), the contribution of travel and tourism to the country’s GDP reached 18.8% in 2019. it also represented 19.1% of total employment.

Back in 2019, Mauritius welcomed 1.38 million overseas travellers, with Europeans accounting for seven of the top 10 markets. The top three in 2019 were Metropolitan France with a market share close to 22% – and even 31% when Reunion island’s arrivals are included. It was followed by the UK with a market share of 10.2% and Germany with 9.3%. 2020 however saw tourist arrivals tumbling by 77.7%. In 2020, Mauritius received only 0.31 million international tourists. France – including Reunion Island – grew its market share by representing over 35% of all international arrivals.

Free premium visa and free vaccination

The Premium visa is available for citizens of 114 countries and territories. A strong selling point is the fact that Mauritius is the only country in the world which offers its long-term visa free of charge. The online procedure is simple and it takes only 48 hours to get an answer.

After submitting all documents, Premium visa eligible travellers must however undergo strict rules set by authorities. This includes a certificate of a negative Covid–19 PCR test administered not more than 7 days prior to the date of boarding at the last point of embarkation. A proof of purchase of a travel package is also requested. It must state an accommodation, on a full board basis, at a designated hotel for Mauritius mandatory 14-day in-room quarantine.

However, to make the package more attractive, Mauritius just expanded its Covid-19 vaccination programme to include all citizens, residents and long-term international visitors over the age of 18. This includes travellers holding the Premium Visa. They are eligible to receive their vaccinations free of charge. Mauritius is using the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine. It is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

The expanded vaccination programme is part of the national campaign to continue keeping Mauritius Covid-secure and to allow the full reopening of international borders once herd immunity is reached. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) is actively encouraging all those eligible to accept this offer and is working across the tourism sector to promote take-up.

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