TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Guam opens up to vaccine tourism, Taiwanese travel agencies are planning vaccination trips to the U.S. territory starting as early as July.
On Tuesday (June 22), the Guam Daily Post reported that the island is opening up to foreign travelers wishing to get vaccinated while vacationing. Hotels and travel agents in Guam have begun marketing "Air V&V" (vaccination and vacation) trips.
As of May 15, Guam announced that persons who can provide proof that they have been vaccinated with U.S. FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are no longer required to undergo quarantine when they arrive in the country. However, those not vaccinated must still undergo a strict 10-day quarantine at a government facility.
On Tuesday, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association stated that the island is now open to any visitor who wishes to be vaccinated. Would-be vaccine tourists must book in advance a full travel package that includes a hotel stay, transportation, and COVID-19 vaccination on their second day in Guam.
Depending on the vaccine that the visitor chooses, they must stay for a minimum of three days and "up to 32 days or more." The visitors must stay in one of 10 designated hotels for a price ranging between US$150 and US$350 per night.
Given that Taiwan is suffering a massive shortfall in vaccines, Taiwanese tour agencies are starting to plan special trips to get vaccinated in Guam. Yu Kuo-chen (游國珍), spokesperson for the Taiwanese travel agency Lion Travel Service Co., told CNA that there are five major reasons why travelers from Taiwan would want to take advantage of this new policy, including government support, the short flight time, low ticket prices, a high level of safety, and the short duration of the stay.
Yu said that his company is currently working with airlines to develop direct flights from Taiwan to Guam. He said that trips could be available as soon as July.
Lion Travel is planning on offering an airfare and hotel package for NT$50,000 (US$1,786) per person that would span five days and four nights. Yu said that unlike the continental U.S., Taiwanese travelers to Guam do not need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) permit in advance.
Instead, they can simply submit their Taiwanese passport and national ID card, as long as these are still valid for more than six months. Travelers from Taiwan must also present proof of a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before boarding the flight.
However, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has not yet given Taiwanese tour agencies permission to organize such vaccine tours. Currently, Taiwanese can only travel as individuals on such vaccine trips, but travel agencies can still help them book flights and hotels.
As the outbreak situation in Taiwan improves, Lion Travel is optimistic about the government giving travel agencies the green light for vaccine tour groups in the near future. Wang Wen-chieh (王文傑), chairman of Lion Travel, has reportedly dispatched a group of executives to Guam to begin the preparatory work.