(CNN) – Seychelles is taking the bold step of banning all cruise ship tourism until the end of 2021 as a measure to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The largest newspaper in the island nation of East Africa, the Seychelles nationDidier Dogley, the country’s minister of tourism, civil aviation, ports and navy, made the decision.
In 2013, the Seychelles joined other islands in the Indian Ocean, including mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar, to establish the Vanilla Islands Tourism Organization to encourage travel to the region and combine their marketing and advertising efforts.
Seychelles is a popular destination for celebrities, who have enjoyed the country’s private villas and azure waters over the years.
Prince William and Kate Middleton went on their honeymoon there after their wedding in 2011, as did George and Amal Clooney in 2014.
It is unclear whether the Seychelles will continue to allow travelers to enter the country by air.
However, losing cruise ships probably means that the economy will suffer a huge blow. Dogley has announced some benefits to help hotels, stations, tour operators and other companies that will be affected by the decision, including subsidized loans and state guarantees.
However, travelers who had hoped to escape the islands in 2020 or 2021 are likely to have other options for their holidays.
The European Union has already started talking about when to open internal borders and some countries – including Greece and Italy – have already announced plans to do so restart tourism for the summer 2020 season.
Another possible model is the “travel bubbles”, in which neighboring countries will allow tourism between their countries by increasing the number of flights and hotel rooms.
The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania now have one in place, with Australia and New Zealand discuss plans to establish another.