Vaccine tourism, in which destinations offer COVID-19 vaccinations to people on holiday, in order to attract visitors, is a ‘double-edged sword’ according to data and analytics company Global Data. While it could assist travel’s restart, it also raises the question of vaccine equity as it will further increase the divide between the wealthy and less privileged, the company says.
GlobalData’s Q2 2021 consumer survey found that only 6% of global respondents were unconcerned about the impact of COVID-19. The remaining 94% were ‘extremely’, ‘slightly’ or ‘quite’ concerned.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, said: “The wealthiest people in poorer countries will now be able to access vaccines first as they can afford to travel. This raises the argument that countries promoting vaccine tourism could be donating excess vaccine doses instead of giving access to wealthy tourists.”
Certain US states, Russia, the Maldives, and Indonesia are some of the destinations that are currently offering vaccinations to tourists. Some travel companies have taken the opportunity to promote vaccine tour packages to boost revenue.
In Russia, for example, three-week tour packages priced between US$1 500 – US$2 500 (R22 000 – R37 000), excluding flights, include vaccinations.