Travel Agencies warn Indians to beware of 'Vaccine Tour' frauds

Travel associations in India and Thailand, both are battling with the infection, have warned the public about the advertising related to vaccine jabs to travel overseas, claimed that there could be hidden costs.

In India, advertisements related to foreign vaccination has gone popular on social media, despite restrictions that have made international traveling nearly impossible. 

In Thailand as well, several tour packages offer a chance to ‘join a vaccination queue abroad’.

President of Travel Agents Association of India, Jyoti Mayal said, “It’s not illegal to go to the USA, traveling is your option. As an association, our advice is to check out the credibility of the agent, check out all the documents, and then moves forward.”

Mayal said, “Something is going wrong. Maybe you are supposed to stay for a month but you have to stay longer than who will bear the cost? And let’s say you don’t even get the vaccine, who has gone down the drain and you didn’t need a holiday.”

Mumbai-based Gem Tours and Travels Pvt.’s owner Pradeep Sharma has taken the names of 5,000 interested people to go to New York for their first vaccination shot and then after several weeks for another shot. The total journey would cost around 1,50,000 rupees. This trip has been advertised by the Agwani Travels Pvt, but the trip never went ahead as India started to roll out shots.

In Thailand too there have been advertisements related to the vaccine tours to the USA and Russia. One Bangkok operator is offering trips to San Fransico, New York, and Los Angeles. 

Many of these trips don’t include visa expenses, air tickets, meals, and the cost of quarantine at either end. 

New York administration has started advertising on their own. The city of New York has been inviting people through micro-blogging website. The tweet read, “Welcome to New York, your vaccine is waiting for you! We’ll administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at iconic sites across our city. With State authorization, we can get vaccines to tourists and make sure they have a built-in souvenir to bring home with them. Let’s get it done!”

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