Shot Trips Vaccine Tourism Takes Off in India

Travel agencies in India gear up with packages to UK, US and Russia as demands to get vaccinated in these foreign nations emerge
Vaccine tourism in now a thing
Vaccine tourism in now a thing

India&rsquos travel and tourism sector was the first to take a major hit due to the international, domestic and travel restrictions imposed in lieu of the pandemic.

However, with gradual revival, a new sector is emerging in the wake of the UK approving the Pfizer&rsquos BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. 

Travel agencies in India are basking on this opportunity of &lsquovaccine tourism&rsquo with packages to the UK, US and Russia which will include a small tour to the destination as well as a visit to the health center for the vaccination, the cost of which will be included in the package itself.

Indians who are keen on getting a COVID-19 vaccine are already enquiring with travel agencies who want to benefit from the mass vaccination drive in the UK which will likely begin next week.

Although travel agencies await clarity from the UK government regarding the necessary quarantine requirements, and also when and if it will be available for foreign visitors, hopes are high as it is expected that once the distribution is done within the country, the vaccine will be available to foreigners from anytime mid-January to mid-March. 

India is allowing international flights with only 22 countries via the air bubble arrangements  which includes the UK.

With the recent UK government rules stating that every international arrival from December 15 will be mandated to 5-day self-isolation, the RT-PCR test can be done on the 6th day. 

Some travel agencies are offering a 4-5 night package from Bengaluru to London at INR 1.29 lakh per head others are offering 3-4 night packages from Mumbai to New York priced at INR 1.75 lakh per head. Agencies are also keeping an eye on the Sputnik V COVID vaccine in Russia which is likely available for supply from next month. They are also monitoring vaccine development in the US with hopes of vaccine approval by mid December.

Although at the moment  travel agencies await clear decisions from both the Indian and the UK government on whether such packages can be legitimised, there is a strong feeling in the tourism sector that vaccine tourism may soon become a reality.

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