Some US states offer vaccinations to foreigners. This leads to a significant increase in the number of bookings for international flights, mainly from Latin America.
In the US, some states offer free COVID-19 vaccinations – including for tourists. These include Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. The mayor of New York even wants to set up mobile vaccination centers at attractions such as Central Park or the Empire State Building to vaccinate tourists. The main idea is the development of the tourism sector, which has suffered more than others over the past year.
Obviously, this gives the desired results. Free vaccinations have sparked a boom in bookings from overseas, according to analyst firm Forward Keys. For example, international bookings to Florida jumped from 44 percent to 67 percent from the 2019 level in the 14 days following the announcement of vaccinations for foreigners, and flights to Texas increased from 58 percent to 91 percent.
This increase is mainly attributable to travelers from Latin America, where vaccinations are not readily available. For example, bookings from Peru to Texas rose to 684 percent from pre-crisis levels. For Costa Rica, this is 338 percent, and for Mexico, 317 percent.
“Last month, we saw countries like Greece and Iceland that opened up to vaccinated visitors and received far more bookings than other destinations. We are seeing a boom in vaccine tourism this month, ”commented Forward Keys. This shows how closely vaccination is associated with the revival of tourism.
Free vaccines in several US cities also caused 300,770 Mexicans to travel to the US by plane in April, up 35.7% from March, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA). The number of travelers in April 2021 is unprecedented, and this was also due to the closure of the US land borders with Mexico.
In March, large numbers of visitors were recorded mainly in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona, with 221,610 travelers arriving from Mexico, up 124.1% from February (4.8% down from January).
Among the various travel packages that are offered in Mexico, there is one to New York with the slogan: “Travel and get the COVID vaccine.” Prices start at $ 469 per person and packages include roundtrip flights, 3 nights’ accommodation, and assistance with booking vaccinations.
Another package is for Las Vegas and is also offered by one Mexican tour operator on social media. Prices start at $ 548 including taxes, which promises a fun ride and vaccinations. Package includes 3 nights hotel stay, flight, carry-on baggage, checked baggage and appointment for Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations.