Potential clients balking at high cost of vaccine tourism; GVB seeks to lower costs

Guam Visitors Bureau president Carl Gutierrez (PNC file photo)

Potential customers of the Guam Visitors Bureau’s vaccine tourism program are balking at the high cost of getting vaccinated on Guam.

GVB President Carl Gutierrez said during Thursday’s board meeting that upon the launch of “Air V&V,” the program has generated a lot of buzz and taken a life of its own, with Taiwan being the most responsive source market.

In fact, Gutierrez said Phoenix Travel plans to bring in Taiwanese tourists on July 6, 14, and 18.

However, Gutierrez said a number of vaccine tourists have been canceling their bookings upon learning of the $880 fee that they have to pay for the vaccination procedure and documentation.

This is separate from the hotel bookings and airline flights that vaccine tourists have to pay on their own.

To lessen the costs for vaccine tourists, Gutierrez is proposing that GVB subsidize the $75 cost of the Sara alert that vaccine tourists are required to sign on to.

Gutierrez pointed out that signing up for the Sara alert is more for the protection of the local community and not so much for the benefit of the visiting vaccine tourist.

The GVB president said the vaccine tourism costs will go down significantly when Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero declares herd immunity for Guam by July, which the island is well on its way to achieving.

With herd immunity, Gutierrez said travel restrictions may be lifted entirely including testing and vaccination requirements, thereby reducing the cost to vaccine tourists and other travelers to Guam.

Gutierrez is asking Adelup to give GVB enough lead time to adjust its costing for vaccine tourism so that the bureau can communicate to its source markets about the revised costs and requirements for vaccine tourism once Guam relaxes its entry requirements.