Travel agencies

Indonesian Travel Agencies Offer “Vaccination Tours” To US To Skip The Line

JAKARTA, June 21 (Reuters) – After failing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at home, Indonesian Muhammad Risqy Putra booked a trip to the United States to be vaccinated there during his first travel abroad since the pandemic.

With wealthy countries like the United States rolling out vaccinations much faster, the wealthiest residents of developing countries – from Indonesia to Thailand to Mexico – are ready to travel abroad for get vaccinated more quickly.

“It turns out that I didn’t get the vaccine here, so I might as well go on a trip and get the vaccine there,” Muhammad Risqy, 25, told Reuters.

It will be his first trip to America. He will be accompanied by his parents, who also plan to be vaccinated.

Only 5%, or 8.8 million people, in Indonesia have been fully immunized, according to government data, as authorities struggle to meet the goal of vaccinating 181.5 million by the end of the year. ‘year.

The increase in COVID-19 cases in the world’s fourth most populous country also means vaccinations have been prioritized for “red zones.”

ATS Vacations, a travel agency offering ‘vaccination circuits’, estimated that it had lost 75% of its turnover due to the pandemic and says that travel is beneficial for both industry and consumers.

“We help those who want to get vaccinated, but have difficulty (getting vaccinated). Since they want to travel at the same time, why not combine the two,” said Lilik Budiman, ATS sales manager. Vacations.

The agency’s ad advertises “the chance to get a free vaccine” alongside a photograph of vials of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) single-injection vaccine.

So far, more than 100 people have booked the tours, which are scheduled to run from June to November and are dependent on obtaining visas to travel.

The cost for a minimum eight-day trip can range from $ 1,100 to $ 3,700 depending on whether it is a group or private tour. Each group tour can accommodate up to 30 people.

For Dewiana, 33, who plans to travel with her husband at the end of September, the possibility of getting her favorite brand of vaccine is one of the reasons she wants to be vaccinated abroad.

“From the brochure, I learned that the vaccine we will get is Johnson & Johnson,” she said.

Indonesia vaccinated people primarily with the Chinese vaccines Sinovac (SVA.O) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L).

Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia, described the idea of ​​going abroad to get vaccinated as “common and not prohibited” for people who are wealthy enough.

“Seeking medical treatment in the United States is an authorized travel goal for people with valid visitor visas,” said Michael Quinlan, spokesperson for the United States Embassy in Indonesia.

Reporting by Heru Asprihanto; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Tom Hogue

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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