Vaccination tourism ad goes viral before taking off

 Friday, May 21, 2021 


As India is facing a sharp shortage of vaccines amid Covid 2.0, vaccine tourism is the new buzz on the internet in the last few days. This term started trending online when travel operators from European countries started offering a vaccination-cum-vacation trip to Russia. Such a tour package is also featuring on social media attracting the Indian travelers. Several travel enthusiasts have expressed interest to buy the tour package but in vain.

An advertisement of Dubai-based travel agency Arabian Nights Tours has gone viral on WhatsApp. It offers a 24-day-long trip from Delhi to Moscow in Russia including two-doses of Sputnik V vaccine, visa support, sightseeing in Moscow and St. Petersburg, transport, food and accommodation in three-star hotel at a cost of Rs. 1.29 lakh per person. Even the below middle-class Indians got tempted for this rewarding deal. Thousands of people tried calling the number displayed in the advertisement; however, they were upset to know that the package is yet to start.

“Amid lockdown and curfew, this package seems to be a perfect escape from the boredom here, but it was not happening. These trips for vaccine tourism to Russia must start soon,” said R Pavan, an IT employee. The management of Arabian Nights Tours preferred not responding to queries.

As per reliable source, the travel agent did not get necessary approvals to start the package from either of the countries and its information was leaked unofficially before the official launch. The members of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) also wondered how this package will work out.

IATO President Rajiv Mehra said, “Arabian Nights Tours is not our member, so I don’t comment on the authenticity of their package. The idea of vaccine tourism is not viable for Indians when both indigenous and foreign vaccines are available here. It may be a good idea if people from African nations come to our country for vaccination.”

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