Vaccine Tourism: Russians Are Flying To Croatia For The EU COVID Pass

A Russian agency is running a vaccine tourism scheme to Croatia for Russians to get vaccinated in this European Union country for free. Getting vaccinated in Croatia means the Russians get access to the EU’s Green Pass, with which they can then travel internationally.

Russian Express to Croatia

Russian Express, a tour agency, is selling four-day trips to Croatia for vaccine tourism at the cost of 439 euros ($510). The tours have been running since September, and they are increasingly popular, Večernji reports.

Croatia offers free vaccinations to foreigners. Russian citizens are getting vaccinated in walk-in vaccine centers in the cities of Zagreb and Pula with no appointment required.

The vaccines on offer are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The last one is particularly popular because it is a single-shot vaccine, so travelers do not need to stay in the country to wait for their second dose.

The EU COVID Pass is on offer for free

Because Croatia is a European Union member state, Russian citizens who get vaccinated there are issued with the EU Green Pass. The digital vaccination certificate, launched in June 2021, is a world-leading tool for promoting confidence in international travel.

Around 60 Russian citizens fly to Croatia on a weekly basis to get vaccinated. When they receive their vaccine, they gain quarantine-free or test-free access to countries across the world that they do not otherwise have if they are vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

One factor that does act as a deterrent, however, and which explains why more Russian citizens are not making use of this vaccine tourism opportunity, is that Croatia and Russia have a visa regime in place.

A boom of Russian airlines in Croatia

As Simple Flying reported last week, there has been a rise in consumer choice in the market for air travel between Russia and Croatia lately.

Azur Air launched a scheduled service between Moscow Vnukovo Airport (VKO) and Zagreb Airport (ZAG) on Sunday 31st October. Azur had previously maintained charter flights on this route, but only during the summer months.

Nordwind Airlines is another new entrant. It operates flights to Zagreb from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) twice weekly throughout the winter. Nordwind flies its own Boeing 737-800 aircraft on this route on Mondays, and its regional subsidiary, Pegas Fly, flies the route with an Embraer ERJ-190 on Fridays.

At the same time, Aeroflot is maintaining its long-running scheduled flights between Zagreb and Moscow Sheremetyevo too. Flights operate three times per week throughout winter.

Pula Airport (PUY), where Russian citizens also go to get vaccinated, currently receives scheduled services by Ural Airlines as well as S7 from Moscow Domodedovo (DME).


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