By T+L SEA Staff
Jul 8, 2021
IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION, where vaccine rollouts have for the most part been slow, there’s a little spot of the U.S.A. with a surplus of doses and lots of less traveled tropical beaches, to boot.
Guam, an American territory in Micronesia, has introduced its Air V&V (vaccine and vacation) program, and the first four tours of visitors from Taiwan have already sold out. These tourists receive a shot on arrival of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, stay at one of a dozen approved hotels, and may travel freely within the country for pre-paid trips of five to 22 days.
Guam has fully vaccinated 75 percent of its population. “This program captures a unique demographic of travellers around the world that are tired of waiting to get vaccinated in this pandemic,” Carl Gutierrez, president of the Guam Visitors Bureau in Guam, said in June. “This will give a shot in the arm to our tourism industry through this unique and valuable service, offering more opportunities to put our people back to work and get our economy roaring again.”
The most popular vaccine so far is Moderna, chosen by 38 percent of people with bookings, followed by Pfizer at 34 percent and Johnson & Johnson at 23 percent, the major Taiwan travel agency Lion Travel said.
With a population of about 168,000, Guam has a bounty of white-sand beaches ringed by turquoise waters, World War II historic sites, and remnants of the Spanish colonial period. The Chamorro people, the island’s native ethnic group, trace originally Malayo-Indonesian descent and their ancestors’ distinct latte stones, used for thousands of years as house foundations, are a national symbol.
Guam’s Air V&V package tours start at approximately US$1,400 for flights and hotels, but that’s not including the cost of pre-departure Covid tests – required to bypass Guam quarantine – two further tests, or the vaccines, which all together add up to US$880 per person.
Just a shot in the dark, but we’re guessing the lucky numbers built into the price is no accident.