DOT eyes increased vaccination of tourism workers

Published August 7, 2021, 1:27 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is pushing to inoculate more tourism workers in various destinations in the country to restore the public’s confidence to travel and help in the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.

A tourism worker receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination for tourism frontliners and workers in El Nido, Palawan last August 3, 2021. (Photo from Department of Tourism)

In a statement, Puyat reiterated her call for support among the DOT’s public and private partners to further accelerate the agency’s vaccination drive for workers in the tourism industry.

“Inoculating our tourism frontliners all over the country will be a key factor in reopening the industry as well as restore the public’s confidence to travel, translating to higher socio-economic activities and boosting our recovery prospects,” Puyat explained.

“I call for public and private entities to practice the Bayanihan spirit in furthering the vaccination of our tourism workers,” she added.

According to Puyat, the local tourism industry is currently gaining momentum towards recovery as the Department strengthens its cooperation with its public and private to bring more vaccine doses to the country’s key tourism destinations.

Based on the data shared by the DOT, a total of 5,000 out of 13,000 tourism workers in Bohol have already received their first dose of the Sputnik V, while 2,500 tourism workers in Tagbilaran are awaiting their first and second Sinovac shots.

An additional 11,000 doses have also been requested for the entire Bohol province covering DOT-accredited establishments and service providers.

In the world-famous Boracay Island, the DOT said that a total of 7,634 frontline workers and other tourism-related employees were already inoculated out of the targeted 12,809 tourism workers.

Aside from its target beneficiaries in Bohol and Boracay that have yet to receive their vaccines, the DOT is also seeking to speed up the vaccination of tourism workers in tourist destinations outside the National Capital Region (NCR), Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal — collectively known as the NCR Plus 8.

The government’s pandemic task force earlier identified these areas as the most populous and with the highest density which makes them at greater risk for COVID-19 transmission.

The tourism chief said key destinations to be prioritized by the DOT include El Nido, Coron, and San Vicente in Palawan (16,000); Puerto Princesa City (15,000); and Siargao (13,150)–bringing the number of the Department’s target vaccine recipients to 69,959.

Puyat, with National Task Force (NTF) against COVID 19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier led the ceremonial vaccination of tourism workers in Palawan where at least 2,500 workers have been vaccinated.

“We shall continue our coordination with Secretary Galvez to vaccinate tourism workers especially in destinations whose economies rely primarily on tourism,” she added.