It’s 7 months since the Maldives reopened for visitors in July 2020. The Indian island archipelago nation is being considered as a successful case study for COVID-era tourism – but how has it adapted to a changed world, and what lessons has it learned? This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Ruth Franklin, Co-founder of Secret Paradise Maldives, which focuses on local island experiences beyond the luxury resorts. In a candid and insightful interview, Ruth discusses the pre-COVID opportunities and the processes and protocols implemented to reopen for inbound travel. We discuss the future of sustainable tourism, tailor-made island experiences and guest house stays, plus the growing appeal of long-vacation travel. We also talk about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the potential for vaccine tourism – and what needs to happen for the Maldives to achieve its goal of attracting 1.5 million visitors in 2021.