The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) recently wrote to Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister for Health, Government of India, on January 27, 2022 urging the honourable Minister to open up Booster Vaccine for all who have been double vaccinated and remove the 270 days (9 months) wait period, which is currently applicable.
This decision is vital and gains prominence in the light of the recent development, wherein the Schengen Countries have introduced a new Travel Rule. As per the new Schengen rules, the validity period of all vaccination certificates has been reduced from 270 days to 180 days. According to this new rule, all Indian travellers who have taken their second dose of Covid Vaccination in April 2021 will no longer be eligible to travel to the Schengen Countries. France, for example, has reduced the vaccination validity to 120 days starting February 15, 2022.
Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “Many people, who received their Vaccine in the month of April / May will be considered unfit to travel. These travellers will be unwelcomed in many countries, which have made Booster dose compulsory for travellers. Some of these countries are – France/ Netherlands/Kuwait/ Croatia/Greece/Austria and more. This long gap between Second Vaccine dose and Booster dose not only disqualifies people from travelling but also instils a sense of fear in them to undertake an international holiday.”
Covid has immensely impacted the entire world but travel sector has been one of the worst affected. It was the first to face the brunt and is still struggling to remain relevant in the times of constantly evolving guidelines and travel advisories. Thus, for the very survival of the travel and tourism sector, OTOAI urged the honourable Minister to look into its request and not put restrictions that hamper the growth of Outbound Travel.