Fully vaxxed tourism workers ready to welcome visitors

PHILIPPINES: With 65% of the 5.7 million workers in the tourism industry fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and the vaccination drive continually improving, the country is looking forward to welcoming travellers once again, vowing that “they are more than ready to provide their guests a safe and pleasant experience.”

“Our tourism workers and our tourist destinations really miss their guests, “ said Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. “I remember everyone, from the airport crew to airport staff to beach vendors, telling me during pre-pandemic days how they were so tired of tourists, particularly during the peak holiday seasons. Now they are telling me that they miss even being tired at work. They miss seeing new people, understandably so when they were stuck at home for so long. It is for this reason that we have zero cases of vaccination hesitancy among our workers.”

One of the country’s major tourist attractions is Boracay Island, whose powder-fine white sand beach has won several travellers' choice awards. Puyat reported that 91% of the island’s tourism workers and 63% of the residents are already fully vaccinated. With vaccines for Boracay’s minors ready for distribution, Puyat is confident that the entire island will be fully vaccinated by the end of November.

She added that this vaccination record is already being replicated in many other tourist spots across the country.

Puyat believed that full inoculation for both tourism workers and tourists is the key to sustaining the industry through the pandemic. The tourism department aims to vaccinate 100% of the workers before the Christmas holidays, a traditional peak travel season in the archipelago.

With reports of Covid cases dropping, local government units are expected to ease up on travel restrictions and allow fully vaccinated tourists to explore the tourist destinations without the need for hotel quarantine.

Puyat is hopeful that this will translate to more tourism establishments that will be able to reopen to restore jobs.

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