Friday, December 1, 2023

Coronavirus vaccination creates new market for travel industry

At least 50 Mexican travel agencies are offering holiday packages to the United States that include vaccination against Covid-19, according to the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV).

Association president Eduardo Paniagua told the newspaper Milenio that the agencies began selling the packages two weeks ago.

About 120,000 packages – which cost approximately 20,000 pesos (about US $1,000) per person – have been sold in that period, according to AMAV data.

A package includes return flights to the United States, airport transfers, a short hotel stay and vaccination registration for travelers, Paniagua said.

Vaccine tourists are traveling from cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Cancún to U.S. destinations in states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida.

One travel agency offering a vaccination package is Ticket Travel in Aguascalientes. It has a package called “Vacúnate en Texas” (Get Vaccinated in Texas) that costs 19,900 pesos and includes vaccination, a three-night hotel stay in Dallas and return flights to Aguascalientes city.

The agency said that initial interest was from individuals but entire families, including children and grandparents, have purchased packages in recent days.

Eduardo del Real, president of AMAV Zacatecas, said that Mexicans are buying the packages because of the simplicity they bring to the process of traveling to the United States to get vaccinated.

“There is a significant segment of people going to the United States to get vaccinated, … what they don’t want is to struggle [with the process]. The importance of the travel agency is that it combines all the services,” he said.

For a fee, travel agencies can make vaccination bookings for their customers at pharmacies or Walmart, del Real explained. They can also advise customers how to do it themselves if they want to avoid the additional charge when purchasing their holiday packages, he said.

One person who completed the process herself is Laura González of Monterrey, Nuevo León. She recently traveled to Las Vegas to get vaccinated and found the online registration process very easy.

“They don’t ask for your passport or visa and on the day of application the only thing they requested was a photo ID card to note my age and verify that I was the person on the register,” she told Milenio.

Almost 230 million vaccine doses have been administered in the United States whereas only 16.4 million shots had been given in Mexico by Sunday night. Vaccination in Mexico hasn’t yet reached the general population aged below 60, making a trip to the United States an attractive option for Mexicans who can afford it.

In some U.S. states, vaccination is available to all adults regardless of whether they live there or not.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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