Trip for a jab has a snag

HO CHI MINH CITY, 28 May 2021: Ho Chi Minh City’s Tourism Department ordered travel firms to suspend so-called “vaccine tours” to the US, claiming there were hidden costs and travellers risked not having a return flight confirmed, the Vietnam News Agency reported Thursday.

Travel operators have been selling “vaccine tours”, which provide only one-way tickets. There is no information about the return ticket in the promotional material, and other features remain vague.

Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic.

The warning was delivered during a recent meeting with tour operators by the tourism department’s director Nguyen Quy Phuong.

VNA quoted him saying: “The vaccine tours are costly and only offer one-way tickets, and information regarding vaccinations is vague, and there is no guarantee that the customer’s needs will be met.”

Since March last year, the country has closed its borders to everyone except repatriated citizens, foreign investors and travellers on official business trips authorised by the government.  Vietnamese citizens overseas who have registered with embassies to return home have to queue and join designated repatriation flights.

The US Embassy reiterated that eligibility for vaccination remains under the jurisdiction of health services in individual US states.

Saigontourist warned that travel companies could not guarantee the return flight home, which could result in travellers being stranded in the US.

It said if tour company clients are stranded abroad, the travel company would be held responsible. Tours for vaccination can cost up to USD7,000 per person.

In early May, Vietnam extended its quarantine policy from 14 to 21 days for all arrivals as the country struggles with the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, mainly caused by the arrival of the so-called India variant.

(Source: News VNA)