The Panama government is introducing a novel way to boost tourism and improve the number of people getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health (MINSA) will offer AstraZeneca vaccination to travelers entering the country who are over 30 years of age, the first such offer in Latin America. The vaccination will be free, with 8 to 12 weeks set between shots.
Visitors who want to be inoculated will be expected to stay at least two nights at hotels registered with the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), according to a report from Reuters.
Panama hopes the initiative will jump-start tourism and help reassure travelers that it is safe to visit Panama. The initiative could represent an “economic injection of over $125 million” and help reactivate 100,000 jobs in the tourism sector, a government official said.
The plan is expected to go into effect in the fourth quarter of 2021.
According to government officials, Panama is expected to complete its country-wide vaccination plan by the end of October. Last week, the European Union approved Panama’s Covid-19 Digital Vaccination Certificate, which will allow Panama citizens and foreign residents with a complete vaccination scheme to present the document to travel to EU member countries.