The meeting took place on the afternoon of May 24 between officials of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism and businesses that organize vaccine tours to the US, including Hong Ngoc Ha, Tugo, and Vietnam America Tourism, at the request of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
At the meeting, businesses said that they had only introduced tours to explore the market and customer needs, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism.
Last week, Hong Ngoc Ha Travel in HCM City offered a vaccine tour package to the US for around VND44.9 million ($1,956), including a flight, accommodation at a three-star hotel or higher, Covid-19 testing fees before entering the US, visa fees, 31-day tourism insurance, tour guides, and payment for the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the firm, its tour prices are adjusted if tourists choose Pfizer and Moderna vaccine or if there is demand for additional services. People who want to go to the US are required to have a quick Covid-19 test 72 hours before their departure. When returning to Vietnam, they will have to be put under a 21-day quarantine.
After that, other travel firms also offered similar tours.
Specifically, Tugo offered a vaccine tour to the US priced at VND250 million/person (24 days), including round-trip airfare between Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles, 3-star hotel, meals in the US, service fees for Covid-19 vaccine, international travel insurance, hotel quarantined in Vietnam for 21 days, and PCR test fee.
Viet My Travel Company offered a $9,000 tour for 1 month. Most recently, on May 24, Viet Travel Company introduced two vaccine tours to the US, VND55 million/person for 10 days and VND65 million/person for 23 days. The tour is expected to start in June. The price does not include return airfare.
Director of Viet Travel Company Tran Van Long said that the firm would invite travel agencies to sit together to discuss how to coordinate with airlines to organize charter flights to the US.
Some other travel companies intended to organize vaccine tours. However, these companies wanted to see how customers react. The biggest problem was the return flight.
Mr. Nguyen Quy Phuong, Director of the Travel Department at the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said that organizing overseas tours is not feasible now.
Healthcare tours are not a new type, but, in this context, according to Phuong, if the tour is not organized carefully, conflicts between customers and tour organizers can occur.
Possible risks are strict entry requirements from host countries. Can the tour organizer bring their customers back to Vietnam on schedule? Without clear terms, complicated situations may arise between tour organizers and customers. Therefore, “our opinion is not to support this product in the current context because it is not suitable,” Phuong said.
Tourism firms have agreed to suspend advertising for this type of tour until the end of 2021.