MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CTY – Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat challenged Cebu to have a 100-percent vaccination rate among the tourism industry workers in Central Visayas by the end of October 2021 during the ceremonial vaccination of 10 tourism workers Friday, Sept. 24 at Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City in recognition of Cebu’s role in the country’s tourism industry.
“Cebu is very important to us. By the end of October this year 99 or 100 percent tourism workers in Cebu must be vaccinated, the only way to open tourism in Cebu and in the Philippines is for all to be vaccinated, everybody that tourists are in contact with. All over Asia, ang nakabukas lang na tourist destination, ‘yong 90 percent or more vaccinated,” Puyat stated.
Puyat also stressed the importance of vaccination saying that’s the only way the country can restart tourism. She added that tourism workers include not only those working in hotels but also those working in restaurants, the airport and drivers, among others. Cebu will have a weekly allocation of 20,000 vaccines solely for tourism workers.
National Task Force Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on the other hand said that
Vaccination is a crucial step towards the safe reopening of our economy. It provides extra layer of protection to our workers and is a vital factor for economic revival.
“Over the years, the tourism industry has been a key driver and a major revenue earner of our nation’s economy. The province of Cebu is considered as one of the country’s top tourist destinations because of its world-class marine attractions, historic sites and, of course, its mouth-watering cuisines,” Galvez said.
He believed that for the industry to get back on its feet and safely our economy, there is a need to vaccinate as many members of the industry’s workforce as possible. Travelers will also have more peace of mind when visiting Cebu, where they can safely enjoy their vacation.
Galvez bared that as of September 17, about 50 percent of tourism workers in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have been vaccinated and the government is expected to receive a total of 100M vaccine doses by the end of October 2021.
For this month, Galvez announced that the Philippines will receive a total of 20 million vaccine doses. Of this number, 317,114 will be allocated for Cebu Province with 60,960 for Cebu City, 40, 220 for Mandaue City and 33,310 for Lapu-Lapu City.
Galvez is optimistic that the government will be able to vaccinate 100% of the eligible population in the country by December 2021.
Alfred Reyes, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said that vaccination is one of the key factors that can help revive both domestic and international tourism. A high vaccination rate can now be a competitive advantage for tourism destinations. More and more tourism workers get the jab, the public earns trust.
“Cebu should fast-track its vaccination. This is the window to take the opportunity that we all should be vaccinated. We urge the hotels, resorts, restaurants, transportation companies, tourism site workers, shopping malls, event organizers, pasalubong shops, island hopping boatmen, our tour guides and our travel agencies and those that are very much dependent on both domestic and international tourism industries, to get themselves the vaccine,” Reyes added.