PROTECTING TOURISM WORKERS. A tourism worker receives his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination for tourism front-liners and workers in El Nido, Palawan on Aug. 3, 2021. The tourist destinations that will be prioritized by the DOT are El Nido, Coron, and San Vicente, Palawan; Puerto Princesa City, and Siargao. (DOT photo)

MANILA – Local tourism recovery continues to gain momentum as the Department of Tourism (DOT) strengthens its cooperation with public and private sectors to bring more vaccine doses to the country’s key tourism destinations.

A total of 5,000 out of 13,000 tourism workers in Bohol have received their first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine, while 2,500 tourism workers in Tagbilaran are awaiting their first and second shots of Sinovac. An additional 11,000 doses have been requested for the entire Bohol, covering DOT-accredited establishment and service providers.

In Boracay, 7,634 front-line workers and other tourism-related workers have been inoculated out of the targeted 12,809 tourism workers.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat reiterated her call for support among the DOT’s public and private partners to further accelerate the department's vaccination drive for tourism workers.

"Inoculating our tourism front-liners 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. I call for public and private entities to practice the Bayanihan spirit in furthering the vaccination of our tourism workers," Puyat said.

She noted that aside from its target beneficiaries in Bohol and Boracay who have yet to receive their vaccines, the DOT also seeks to speed up the vaccination of tourism workers in tourist destinations that are not included in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8, which consists of the NCR, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal – areas that were identified by the government as the most populous and with the highest density, which makes them at greater risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission.

The tourist destinations that will be prioritized by the DOT are El Nido, Coron, and San Vicente, Palawan (16,000); Puerto Princesa City (15,000); and Siargao (13,150), bringing the number of the DOT’s target vaccine recipients to 69,959.

Recently, Puyat and National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer, Secretary Vince Dizon, graced the ceremonial vaccination of tourism workers in Palawan where a total of 2,500 tourism workers were vaccinated.

“We shall continue our coordination with NTF chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez, to vaccinate tourism workers, especially in destinations whose economies rely primarily on tourism,” Puyat said. (PR)