DOT eyes vaccination of 5,000 tourism workers in Bohol

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 14) - The Department of Tourism on Monday said it is planning to allocate some 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 5,000 tourism workers in Bohol.

“I am delighted to bring the good news that vaccine czars Sec. Carlito Galvez and Sec. Vince Dizon have approved our request for additional vaccines for Bohol," said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during a virtual meeting.

"With this, the industry's frontliners can start preparing for a bigger reopening of tourism in the coming days,” she said.

The tourism workers will be given Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, said the DOT.

Meanwhile, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said to be prioritized in the early vaccination program are workers from DOT-accredited establishments with certificate of authority to operate, and the province’s tourism seal of excellence -- the Ultimate Bohol Experience seal.

“Bohol draws its income from remittances abroad and the services sector, and both sources have been impacted during this crisis," said Yap.

"The promise of more vaccines arriving sooner than later is indeed great news so we can protect not only our residents but assure visitors that we are taking measures to assure their safety as well,” Yap also said.

With the vaccination of tourism workers, Puyat expressed hope that this would make the travel bubble between Bohol and other destinations in Asia feasible in the future.

“There are no standard procedures in confronting this pandemic," the tourism chief said. "We have to find innovative measures for the nation to recover."

"It will be a constant challenge and new hurdles will occur, but discovering and addressing them is the way to adapt to this crisis,” she also said.

“Bohol’s local procedures have always strived to keep the locals safe while remaining welcome to tourism," Puyat added. "This makes Bohol a prime candidate when we begin opening up direct travel bubbles with select regional destinations very soon."

The province known for its Chocolate Hills, old stone churches, white sand beaches and tarsiers opened its doors last year for domestic travelers and residents provided that they have a negative RT-PCR test result and has an accommodation in a DOT-accredited hotel with the province’s tourism seal of excellence.