Published on : Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Uruguay aims to exhibit its strength and develop “vaccine tourism” to drive a sector that has been economically devastated by the pandemic.
This initiative is being supported by lawmakers, provincial governments and the private sector. Uruguay seeks to attract tourists who, besides being interested in the country’s tourist attractions, also want to receive anti-Covid shots that they cannot procure in their home countries.
“For those tourists who are not vaccinated, our proposal is for them to enter the country with a negative PCR test, and then go with a safe conduct pass to a hotel where they have to remain for seven days. Then, they will once again take a PCR test and will get the vaccine. If the second test is negative, they can travel freely,” said center-right Colorado Party lawmaker Nibia Reisch.
Currently, Uruguay’s borders remain closed. However, the recent decline in positive tests and deaths from Covid-19 has raised hopes that the country might reopen its borders for the Southern Hemisphere spring.
As of about 3:30 pm on Monday, 2,542,179 people in Uruguay have received at least one dose of either China’s Sinovac, Britain and Sweden’s AstraZeneca or the US Pfizer vaccine. Of those, 2,143,708 have been fully vaccinated.
Citizens from various countries around Latin America, including Uruguay, in recent months traveled to the US to get both Pfizer shots or to get a booster, if they had been vaccinated with Sinovac.
Uruguay Deputy Tourism Minister Remo Monzeglio said that “it’s feasible” to think that the country could have “a leisure vaccine capability” that would let it execute a measure like the one the lawmaker is proposing.
“It would not only be a significant boost for tourism, but also a message of solidarity with other countries that don’t have the vaccination rate that Uruguay has,” Monzeglio said.
One of the provinces that has been most affected by the deficiency of foreign tourists is Maldonado in the southeast, along with Punta del Este, which normally witnesses a huge inflow of Argentines.