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Vietnam puts the brakes on 'vaccine tours' to US

Vietnam puts the brakes on 'vaccine tours' to US

Tuesday, May 25, 2021, 20:01 GMT+7
Vietnam puts the brakes on 'vaccine tours' to US
An advertisement of a 'vaccine tour' to the United States offered by a travel company in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: N.Binh / Tuoi Tre

Travel companies in Vietnam have agreed to halt the promotion and operation of 'vaccine tours' to the United States and will offer them again in early 2022.

As all firms operating such tours are based in Ho Chi Minh City, the municipal Department of Tourism convened a meeting with them on Monday to discuss related issues in order to make sure customers’ interests are not affected.

At the gathering, the businesses said that they only introduced the tours to explore market demand.

After hearing recommendations from the tourism department, the travel companies agreed on removing all advertisements regarding such 'vaccine tours' until the end of this year.

They will consider running these tours again in early 2022.

In the meantime, they will closely monitor the pandemic situation and make careful preparations to ensure the terms of the contract between them and their customers.

Things that must be taken into consideration are the time of return flight tickets, health insurance for post-vaccinal side effects, and difficulties that customers face when they have to reschedule their flights.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism previously warned about the risks that such tours to the U.S. may pose if not organized carefully.

Conflicts between customers and businesses will break out if the former’s interests are affected.

Most tours only include one-way tickets from Vietnam to the U.S., while plans for the return flights remain unclear, the tourism agency noted.

“The complicated developments of the pandemic may affect the approval of entry into a country as well as restrict international flights,” a representative of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism stated.

“We do not support the operation of such tours given the current context, as it can be very risky for both customers and businesses.”

Last week, Hong Ngoc Ha Travel Company, which is headquartered in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, advertised a 'vaccine tour' to the U.S. named VAC-cation.

Prices are promoted as starting at VND45 million (US$1,950), but the exact cost will depend on the length of a tourist's stay and the type of coronavirus vaccine.

The jabs developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna require a two-dose regimen with a 21-day interval, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine needs only one shot, the representative explained.

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