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Asia Minute: Taiwan Visitors Flock to Guam for Vacation and Vaccinations

Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP

Vaccine supplies remain uncertain in many locations across the Asia Pacific—and in some cases even when supply is not an issue, shots are still going into arms at a slow pace.

Guam is trying to match need with opportunity, launching a tourism program for folks to come to the island for what the Guam Visitors Bureau calls “Air V&V”—vacation and vaccination.

Back in May when the program was in the planning stages, the president of the Visitors Bureau wrote in the Guam Daily Post that the main target market would likely be expatriate Americans living in the region.

But the program is really taking off with visitors from Taiwan.

At the end of last week, one of the biggest tour operators in Taiwan said the first four vaccination travel packages it put together to Guam were sold out—with nearly 450 clients.

In a statement, Lion Travel said it’s approaching airlines to add flights in July and August “to meet market demand.”

Taiwan is traditionally a strong visitor market for Guam, along with Japan and South Korea.

While Taiwan was very successful in containing the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic, its vaccination rollout has been relatively slow.

According to Taiwan’s Health Ministry, less than 10% of the population has received at least one shot.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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