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Mumbai-based travel firm launches covid vaccine tourism package

A traveler wearing a protective mask boards a United Airlines Holdings Inc. flight at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. United and Hawaiian Airlines are offering options for Covid-19 testing to passengers traveling to the state of Hawaii that will include at-home tests, drive-through testing, and in-person tests at the airport. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)Premium
A traveler wearing a protective mask boards a United Airlines Holdings Inc. flight at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. United and Hawaiian Airlines are offering options for Covid-19 testing to passengers traveling to the state of Hawaii that will include at-home tests, drive-through testing, and in-person tests at the airport. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

  • The tour operator said it is not holding or procuring any vaccine and everything will be done as per official permissions of US health department

NEW DELHI: Mumbai-based Gem Tours & Travel has announced a coronavirus vaccine tourism package for high networth individuals (HNI) clients who wish to travel to the US for the shot.

"Be among the first to get Corona Vaccine: As soon as Pfizer Vaccine is officially published to sell America (tentative date 11 December), v r ready to get it done for select few VVIP clients..." the travel operator said in its package details through WhatsApp messages.

The package, priced 1,74,999, comprises Mumbai-New-York-Mumbai airfare, three night/four days stay along with a shot of the vaccine. The story was first reported by The Times of India on Tuesday.

The travel firm is pitching the package on the back of pharma major Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE's coronavirus vaccine that showed 95% efficacy in preventing covid-19 with no major safety concerns. Pfizer has already applied to US health regulators for emergency use authorization of its covid-19 vaccine.

The packages are being booked on a first-come-first-serve basis without any advance or deposits. "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," the firm said in a message in response to Mint's query.

The numbers given in the WhatsApp message that was circulating were not answered. In the text message the firm said it was unable to answer calls owing to the flood of queries.

The operator said it is not holding or procuring any vaccine and everything will be done as per official permissions of US health department.

"Everything we will arrange will be within laws of United States of America. We will only process your requirements. Right now, no time frame can be committed. We are keeping the list ready so as and when America allows foreigners to come and take vaccine, we should not waste time because every life matters to their family members," the firm said in a message.

Founded by chairman Jyotin Doshi in 1983, the tour operator has offices across Delhi, Gujarat, Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru. It currently serves over 45 countries across six continents. However, Gem Tours & Travels is not registered with the Indian Association of Tour Operators, an industry body that helps in the promotion of travel and tourism in India.

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