Jab and staycation: Indonesia planning domestic vaccine tourism package

A beach in Bintan regency, Riau Islands. Photo: Kento Ikeda/Flickr
A beach in Bintan regency, Riau Islands. Photo: Kento Ikeda/Flickr

Indonesians may soon be encouraged to spend weeks at a local tourism destination in between COVID-19 jabs, with the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry preparing a domestic vaccine tourism package to boost the ailing industry.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said the program could be launched imminently.

“Vaccine tourism is an inevitability within the scope of tourism and creative economy. We can assure that the vaccine will be free to Indonesian citizens as it is a public good, but we will look into [the pricing] of the tourism package,” he said yesterday.

Under the scheme, Sandiaga said Indonesians may get their first jab before heading to their tourist destination of choice. There, they can staycation for around 14 days, get their second jab, and head home.

Sandiaga did not specify any locations for the program, but officials previously mentioned Bali and Bintan as possible destinations.

This program would not cater to international tourists, as Indonesia’s mass vaccination program is fully subsidized by the government and is intended for Indonesian nationals only.

Since the mass vaccination program began in mid-January, Indonesia has fully inoculated 11.3 million people, or 4.2 percent of the population, as of June 9. The government hopes to be able to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 by vaccinating 70 percent of the population by early 2022.

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