'Dakal a Salamat!' Vaccination drive launched for Pampanga tourism workers

Published August 13, 2021, 4:55 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) rolled out on Thursday, Aug. 12 a two-day vaccination program in San Fernando City, Pampanga which aims to inoculate at least a thousand active tourism workers there.

(Photo from Department of Tourism)

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat led the vaccination drive, which was part of the department’s efforts to speed up the recovery of local tourism, as well as the economy.

“It is very much important for our tourism workers to be vaccinated, especially with the emergence of new variants. Hence, the department is supporting every initiative to inoculate every tourism worker in the country as soon as possible,” Puyat said in her speech.

“The two-day vaccine rollout in Pampanga is just an example of the department’s commitment in helping the industry and its stakeholders recoup its losses while protecting its gains amid the health crisis,” she added.

The DOT regional office in Central Luzon and the Pampanga provincial government partnered with SM Pampanga to conduct the rollout of 2,000 doses of vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that were provided by the Department of Health (DOH).

Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda and San Fernando City Mayor Edwin Santiago joined Puyat in the activity. According to them, the DOT’s initiative will bring the number of fully vaccinated individuals in the province to over 240,000.

Puyat said local tourism in Region 3 continues to show signs of recovery for the first half of the year by tallying at least 2.25 million arrivals compared to the 622,705 recorded during the same period in 2020.

Tourist receipts also grew to a hefty P11.27 billion from just P3.11 billion in the same comparable period.

While Pampanga has been open for leisure travels since October 2020, the spike in cases and the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 prompted heightened restrictions in the province. Because of this, non-residents and unauthorized persons are required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken not more than 48 hours before entry to the province.

Meanwhile, the DOT highlighted its assistance programs for the province such as the Tourism Rapid Assessment and the release of technical assistance to Mt. Arayat National Park in establishing its guidelines for reopening.

Pampanga is also undertaking initiatives related to food mapping, among other things, to take advantage of its culture and culinary strength and to promote local tourism.

The DOT has said that it will help local government units in formulating their local tourism development plans and provide the overall direction needed for sustainable tourism development aligned with the national tourism development plan.