Amid Tourism Blues, Calcutta Travel Agents See Hope In Russian Vax Vacations | Calcutta News

KOLKATA: After almost a year with no income, city travel agents were shot in the arm following a nod from Russian authorities to promote vaccination holiday for the country. As the wedding season approaches, agents expect the newlyweds to seize the occasion in particular.

While vaccination travel plans launched by a few Delhi-based travel agencies are currently making the rounds, agents in Kolkata are working on packages and are expected to confirm their proposals by this weekend. Basically, the duration of the trip will be 24 days: 20 days in Moscow and four in St. Petersburg.
“We had a word with the authorities of the Russian consulate as well as with the travel agents in Russia. They confirmed that the vaccination would be offered to tourists. The vaccination campaign in Russia was so successful that from the 15th May, people are no longer required to wear masks. Indians can travel to Russia after undergoing an RT-PCR test and can either take advantage of a vacation without the hassle of quarantine or can opt for a vaccination package which will include two injections within 24 days in addition to visiting possibilities, ”said President of the Federation of Travel Agents of India (East) Anil Punjabi .
The city’s travel agents said they were already receiving inquiries about the proposed vaccination vacations in Russia. Some are just waiting to see how it takes off. “Once the restrictions that are currently in place in Kolkata ease and the mood improves, there will be many takers, especially in upper-middle-class families who have not taken a vacation. for a long time, “said Chairman of the Association of Travel Agents of India (East) Manav Soni.
Another travel agent said that Sputnik V’s higher efficiency vis-à-vis Covishield and Covaxin which are currently available in India could also be a draw for the segment that can afford the holidays. Sputnik is also expected to be made in India and is currently being benchmarked in hospitals.
The vaccination holiday in Russia, priced between Rs 2.2 lakh and Rs 2.4 lakh per person, will include a 24-day stay in 3-star hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg, sightseeing and guided tours of all major tourist sites in these towns, flight and train fares as well as local tourist transport and ticket costs. The parity of Russian ruble and Indian rupee means that the long enough trip will not be as expensive as in some other European countries. In addition, hotel rates are at their lowest.
In December, some travel agents prematurely made offers to take vaccination vacations in the UK. But that did not materialize because BritaÐin did not open vaccination to tourists. Industry believes the UK will also open the doors and use vaccination as bait to attract tourists now that it is close to completing the vaccination of its people.
Soni believes that vaccination tourism will be a reality in the UK, US and UAE and will also open up travel and tourism opportunities in these countries. “Right now India is on the red list. But once the restrictions are relaxed and allow travel after an RT-PCR test, many will board a flight, ”he said.

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