(CNN) – Seychelles makes the bold decision to ban all cruise tourism until the end of 2021 to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The largest newspaper in the East African island nation, the Seychelles Nation, reports that Didier Dogley, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Navy of the country, made the decision.
In 2013, Seychelles joined several other islands in the Indian Ocean, including Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar, to form the Vanilla Islands Tourism Organization to encourage travel in 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 vivid blue waters over the years.
Prince William and Kate Middleton married there after their marriage in 2011, as did George and Amal Clooney in 2014.
It is unclear whether Seychelles will continue to allow travelers to enter the country by air.
However, the loss of cruise ships likely means that the economy will be hit hard. Dogley announced some benefits to help hotels, resorts, tour operators and other businesses that will be affected by the decision, including subsidized loans and government guarantees.
Still, travelers who had hoped to flee to the islands in 2020 or 2021 will likely have other vacation options.
The European Union has already started talking about the opening of internal borders, and some countries – including Greece and Italy – have already announced plans for boost tourism for the summer season 2020.
Another possible model is that of “travel bubbles”, where neighboring countries will allow tourism between their nations while increasing their number of flights and hotel rooms.
The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania now have one, with Australia and New Zealand discuss plans to establish another.