At the beginning of 2021, when countries worldwide started their vaccination campaigns, every world government was rushing to make sure they secured enough vaccines to vaccinate at least the most vulnerable.
Then, as more vaccines were approved and available, the number of those vaccinated continuously grew.
Now, some tourist hotspots are taking the ‘game’ one step further by offering tourists the opportunity to vaccinate in a bid to attract more travellers, after 2020 brought the tourism sector in these places to its knees.
Among these countries are smaller but famous tourism destinations as the Maldives, as well as bigger countries as Russia and even the US.
Cities & States in the US Now Allow Travellers to Get Vaccinated
When the vaccination campaign was rolled out in the US, some US authorities were scared that travellers would attempt to get vaccinated in the country.
Months later, some US cities and states are volunteering to offer foreigners COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to attract more tourists safely amid COVID-19.
The city of New York announced back in May that it would start vaccinating tourists 16 and older at popular spots like Times Square and the High Line, and later at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Central Park, a plan which had been approved by the Governor of the state, Andrew Cuomo.
Mobile vaccination hubs placed at these spots started offering tourists one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine without the need of making a prior appointment.
The state of Alaska has undertaken a similar move in a bid to restart summer tourism, which has been devastated by the COVID-19 restrictions.
On June 1, the state started permitting arrivals at its major airports to get vaccinated with at least the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
“Anyone that is travelling in or through Alaska will be able to get vaccinated if they choose,” the director of public health at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Heidi Hedberg, said at the time, announcing the move.
Several other US states, including Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Texas, also offer free COVID-19 vaccinations to foreigners and tourists.
The Maldives to Offer Free Tourist Vaccines Once It Vaccinates Its Population
The Maldives, the small archipelagic state in South Asia famous among German and American wealthy tourists, is also offering COVID-19 vaccines for travellers in a bid to revive the tourism sector, and thus its economy.
“‘Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation’ will provide tourists with a convenient way to access shots, but the scheme will only go live once the native population has been vaccinated. The main idea of tourism being open is to provide reasonably safe tourism with minimum inconvenience,” Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom said back in May.
In the same month, the Maldives authorities announced that 410,000 tourists had visited the country from the beginning of the year to May 8.
Russia Selling COVID-19 Vaccines to Tourists But Not Giving Visas
The Russian authorities are also offering COVID-19 vaccines for foreigners, though not for free. Travellers are now being offered vaccine plans lasting three weeks for foreign travellers with prices ranging from USD1,500 and USD2,500 in addition to flight costs.
Some travellers, however, may face difficulties in travelling to Russia as the latter’s consulates are still not issuing visas.
“The product is ready, but the issues of visa support and legal entry for foreigners wishing to receive the Russian vaccine are yet to be resolved,” the president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI), Andrei Ignatyev has said.
Free COVID-19 Vaccines for Tourists in Abu Dhabi Since June 11
Abu Dhabi, another famous tourist destination, without much noise, has been offering tourists holding entry visas free COVID-19 vaccines of Pfizer or Sinopharm.
Appointments for the vaccine can be booked through the COVID-19 vaccination app of the UAE since June 11, using the passport information. At the time of vaccination, an entry visa or an entry stamp is required.
Over six per cent of the entire population in the United Arab Emirates have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.
Indonesian Island of Bali Also Offering COVId-19 Jabs
The resort island of Bali has also started to offer China’s Sinovac and the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccines to tourists from abroad through packages that include vaccinations. The plan has been developed by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry of Indonesia.
At the same time, the Indonesian airline Garuda (GIAA.JK) started administering free COVID-19 vaccinations to holidaymakers and travellers, with 20 passengers benefiting from the opportunity to get jabbed with the Sinovac vaccine on the very first day.
Only 5.5 per cent of the total Indonesian population have been fully vaccinated so far.
Serbia (Not Anymore)
Serbia had also unfolded a plan to vaccinate tourists back in April this year. However, the government has backed down from the plan, which drove a high number of residents of Bosnia to travel to the neighbouring country in order to get vaccinated.
The country has managed to get its hands into more vaccines than the number of its population.
The government has cancelled the offer of vaccines for tourists until further notice after more than 40,000 foreigners benefited from the opportunity.
Serbia has so far administered at least 5,318,975 doses of COVID vaccine jabs.