Combining a holiday with a medical or cosmetic surgery is not uncommon, but the Covid-19 pandemic has given birth to a new kind of tourism: Vaccine tourism
Vaccine tourism, where travelers go abroad to receive the much-coveted Covid-19 vaccination, are being offered by tour operators across Europe.
Vaccination tourism has arrived on the scene in Germany. Travel companies want to offer frustrated Germans the chance to combine sun and surf with the much-coveted Covid-19 vaccination and want to bring some of the German demand for the vaccine to countries with a healthier supply. “We have received an increasing number of customer inquiries as to whether it would not be possible to combine a health vacation with a COVID-19 vaccination,” a Fit Reisen spokesperson told DW.
German travel agency Fit Reisen began offering vaccine vacations in February this year. Now the idea has been put on ice, the company says, pointing to expectations that the vaccine rollout in Germany will pick up in April. But the original plan had been to offer vaccination trips to countries where Fit Reisen already travels and where the local populations were already largely vaccinated.
Norwegian travel agency World Visitor caters to travelers in Nordic countries as well as Germany. Recently, the company’s website has featured a section entitled “Impfreisen,” listed only in German, offering coronavirus vaccine getaways to Russia. Customers can choose from a range of travel packages that all include arrangements to receive the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.
Meanwhile, Austrian company “Impfreisen.at” is offering nonbinding pre-bookings for a variety of all-inclusive vacation travel packages with “guaranteed access to the coronavirus vaccination.” “It is highly regrettable and detrimental to all of us that the EU failed to provide sufficient vaccines for al Europeans at the right time,” the company says on its website.
At present, there are no official arrangements in place to ensure foreign visitors get the vaccination they have travelled for. Some countries are making it clear that vaccine tourists are not welcome.