The term "vaccine tourism" has gained a lot of popularity in India, ever since reports of Indian tour operators organising packages to the U.S with the promise of a vaccination slot, began surfacing last year.
As the pandemic worsens, the idea of getting inoculated while enjoying a holiday might not seem so far fetched. Recently, a Dubai-based travel agency by the name Arabian Nights Tours launched a 23-night package from Delhi to Moscow which in addition to a four day trip to St.Petersburg, it offered two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and a vaccine certificate as additional benefits, according to reports from ETTravelWorld .
The tour now has been completely booked. However, there are no Indians on board yet.
Sujeet Singh, the India-based Director of Sales for Arabian Nights Tours, speaking to ETTravelWorld said that all seats went to vaccine seekers from Dubai and that logistics regarding India have yet to be worked out.
Kristina Avetisyan, General Director, Travelbuddy, who has been coordinating the tour from Moscow told ETTravelWorld that although numerous queries were coming in from Indians initially, the price point might be of concern.
The package costs 1.3 lakh INR and according to Avetisyan a special price that was offered to Indians earlier is no longer valid.
Meanwhile, there are numerous concerns revolving around the legitimacy of vaccine tourism. Although there is no law yet that prohibits it, many countries around the world have taken steps to ensure that their residents get inoculated first.
In the US, the state of Florida, passed an order in January, requiring those seeking a vaccine to produce proof of residency, while earlier only proof of age was necessary.
According to NBC news, Florida's director of emergency management Jared Moskowitz, in a statement called vaccine tourism "abhorrent" and said that people should not be flying here(Florida) to get a vaccine and flying out"