The Department of Tourism’s latest numbers on the inoculation of tourism workers in select Philippine destinations show they are nearing 50% as of Sept. 10.
The update given to PhilSTAR L!fe by the DOT includes 15 tourist destinations in nine regions with a total of 94,977 tourism workers—which include employees in hotels, restaurants, transportation and related services. Of these, 42,351 have been fully vaccinated or 44.9 %. Those awaiting vaccination or their second dose are 52,626 or 55.41%.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told PhilSTAR L!fe, “The vaccination of our tourism workers will add another layer of protection for guests and staff, on top of continued adherence to health and safety protocols. Vaccinating our tourism workers is the only way we can continue to sustain the recovery of domestic tourism, especially with the presence of a new virus variant.”
She added that the DOT is eyeing 100% inoculation of tourism workers across the country “hopefully before Christmas.”
Boracay, the country’s top tourist destination, has suffered from multiple closures due to its rehabilitation in 2018 and the pandemic since 2020. The island had an initial target of 12,809 tourism workers to vaccinate. About 9,232 are now fully vaccinated or 72.07%.
Baguio City, a favorite weekend destination for Metro Manila and Central Luzon residents, reported on Sept. 15 that it has inoculated 100% of its 7,574 tourism workers.
In Region 1, La Union has vaccinated 51% of its 3,145 tourism workers; Ilocos Sur, 56%; Ilocos Norte, 38%.
In Region 2, Batanes has only 74 tourism workers in the DOT list and 34 have been inoculated.
In Region 3, where surfing destination Aurora (Baler) is located, 2,277 out of 3,700 have been inoculated.
In Region 4-B where Palawan has four top tourist destinations, San Vicente, where Port Barton is located, has inoculated 100% of its 616 tourism workers. Out of Coron’s 8,500, 78% have been inoculated—all with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine; El Nido, 33% of 7,000; Puerto Princesa, 11% of 15,000.
Region 7’s Bohol province has fully vaccinated 58.95% of 15,000 tourism workers. Region 10’s Bukidnon and Camiguin, which have 5,582 and 2,197 tourism workers, have vaccinated 2% and 4%, respectively.
In Region 13’s Siargao, only 1,164 have been fully vaccinated out of 13,150 workers or 8% as of Sept. 10.
Puyat explained that Mindanao’s numbers are lower than other destinations because the DOT has just started its vaccination program but “supplies are coming so we will make sure they’re all vaccinated.”
As of Aug. 23, Metro Manila—composed of 16 cities and one municipality—has vaccinated 95% of its 29,066 people in tourism businesses.
Tourism is one of the hardest hit industries in world due to COVID-19, affecting airlines, cruise liners, hotels and resorts, transportation, F&B, and related services.
A report by UNCTAD on June 30 estimated global tourism losses at $4 trillion.
Banner photo: Loboc River in Bohol