Mumbai-based travel agency claims to develop vaccine tourism; irks travellers and travel industry
In a viral social media post, Mumbai-based is claiming ‘to develop vaccine tourism’ for Covid-19 vaccine. The package for ₹1,74,999, includes Mumbai-New-York-Mumbai airfare, three night/four days stay along with a shot of the vaccine. The message doing the rounds on the Internet mentions, “Be among the first to get Corona Vaccine: As soon as Pfizer Vaccine is officially published to sell in America (Tentative date 11th Dec), v r (we are) ready to get it done for select FEW VVIP Clients.”
When contacted, the response through a text message states, “Due to several phone calls, we are unable to answer all calls.” And further added, “We are developing vaccine tourism. We at Gem are not holding or procuring any vaccine. Everything we will arrange will be within laws of United States of America and will be done as per official permissions. We will only process your requirements. We just need your registration with us with your name, e-mail, cell, age, any one of physical complications from above and a passport copy.”
Moreover, in a recent tweet posted by the agency, it states, “Not to get carried way & stay away from false news, but this a new concept and revival in tourism & hospitality industry, much needed breather for this industry, thank you for tweeting.”
The viral post left plenty travel agents and travellers infuriated who expressed concerns over such schemes. In an interview to a publication, Rajesh Rateria, the owner of Cirrus Travel, questions, “No one knows how many doses one needs to take and how many times they will have to visit the US if there’s a gap between shots?” . Another tour and travel organiser, Anurag Kumar, from a Delhi-based tour and travel agency in south Delhi says, “I hope the travellers don’t influenced by such misleading schemes. And even if it were to be true, how can one guarantee the timing and what will be the visa requirements for such travellers?”
Some also feel that these are marketing gimmicks to attract traveller’s attention. Gurgaon-based Arpit Sabharwal, a marketing manager, says, “The entire purpose of the message was to gain attention from potential customers. A lot of them would have made enquiry calls or visited the website to know more details of the package, which could be the sole motive. But personally, the claim to develop vaccine tourism seems to be scam to me.” Another marketing manager and avid traveller, Delhi-based Lata Sharma who works at a travel portal too reiterates the same. She says, “This could very well be a publicity stunt. How can one verify such offerings? There is medical tourism but to promote vaccine tourism in such times is ridiculous!”
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