Vaccine Tourism: Read the fine print, warn travel agencies | Business and Economic News

The travel agency associations in India and Thailand (both fighting the surge in infections) have warned the public to prohibit operators from propagating travel abroad for vaccinations, saying there may be hidden costs in doing so.

Despite many restrictions, international travel is almost impossible, but vaccine travel advertisements mainly targeting the United States have appeared on social media in India. In Thailand, there are also more and more tour groups offering opportunities to participate in foreign vaccination queues.

Jyoti Mayal, president of the Indian Association of Travel Agents, said: “It is not illegal to go to the United States, it is definitely your choice.” “As an association, our suggestion is to check the credibility of the agent, check all the documents, and then move on.”

Gem Tours & Travels Pvt, headquartered in Mumbai. The first vaccination was given in the names of 5,000 people interested in living in New York for three days, and a second trip was made a few weeks later. The cost of each trip was about 150,000 rupees (US$2,000). Agwani travels to Indian soldiers. The company’s owner, Pradeep Sharma, said that on a 21-day trip in New York, he bought the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for approximately US$6,100. However, as India began to introduce the vaccine, Never succeeded.

Another operator, Arabian Nights Tours LLC in Dubai, promotes “vaccinations and happiness tours” in Russia. Itineraries start at $1,780 and include round-trip air tickets from Delhi to Moscow, 24 nights accommodation in St. Petersburg and the capital, and two doses of Sputnik vaccine. Although “visa support” fees are included, visa fees are not included. Russia may also close its borders to immigrants from India. Local media quoted travel agencies as saying that this is not a factor “in our hands.”

There are also vaccine travel advertisements to the United States and Russia in Thailand. An operator in Bangkok offers trips to San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, with prices ranging from $2,400 to $6,400, depending on the time difference between the dose and the vaccine brand. Johnson & Johnson only stabs, so it needs a shorter stay. According to reports, the owner of another agent said that he had received hundreds of inquiries, but 80% of them did not have a U.S. visa.

If applicable, many Thai packages do not include visa fees, air tickets, meals, or quarantine fees at either end. Suthiphong Pheunphiphop, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said that travel agencies will not be held responsible if travelers become ill due to the side effects of the vaccine.

Suthiphong said: “The government will not prevent any travel agency from selling such packages, but a lot of burdens and risks will fall on the traveler rather than the travel agency. Therefore, if the trip is worth the risk, then the customer should weigh it.”

Some people choose to fly to a place where the vaccine of their choice is available [File: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg]

The demand for vaccine travel is due in part to people’s unequal access to the most effective vaccine, and rich countries have guaranteed the effectiveness of this vaccine. That has been squeezed out of most areas of developing countries and has prompted people in those places to go elsewhere if they have money. Both India and Thailand have seen a violent new wave of viruses, and lagging behind the United States and other places in shooting, the proportion of the population covered by them is 7% or less.

However, there is also the question of whether some roving vaccines are practical in view of border embargoes and reduced flight schedules. For example, India has suspended regular international commercial passenger flights until May 31. Earlier this month, the United States banned most travel from India, although travel restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

“Some things may go wrong,” Meyer said. “Perhaps you should stay for a month, but you have to stay longer, and then who will bear the cost? It can be said that you have not even been vaccinated, your money has been spent, and you don’t need to take a holiday.”

Some people walk alone, choosing to fly to places where vaccine options are available.

An influential person on Thai social media did this. He named him under the pseudonym Sasdha and refused to provide his real name on the grounds that he had privacy concerns about certain government-related positions. He is currently in New York with his mother, waiting for the second shot. The cost of their trip was approximately 500,000 baht (US$16,000), including business class airfare, accommodation in the United States, and a 14-night national quarantine after returning to Bangkok.

“The experience is very relaxing. There is no queue at the vaccination center. He said that we have passports and my mother and I spent a total of five minutes buying vaccines at the local CVS pharmacy.

Like his mother, Sasdha, like his mother, has been granted a 10-year tourist visa to the United States. He said that he embarked on a journey because he has tried to curb the latest epidemic to the Thai government and obtain the vaccine he wants. The ability is not full of confidence.

He said: “We all know that Pfizer and Moderna are the best choices. Everyone wants these brands.” Thailand currently only offers AstraZeneca Plc and China’s Sinovac Biotech Co.

He said: “We can’t even choose between the two, so it’s like Thai people getting vaccinated with their hands tied.”

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