An official of one of the largest resorts in Bohol has expressed favor for the inclusion of hospitality and tourism industry workers in the priority list of the province’s vaccination campaign in a bid to entice tourists to visit the island and to resuscitate the slumping tourism industry.
According to Modala Beach Resort manager Rommel Gonzales, Bohol should be promoted as a safe haven for vacationers by vaccinating tourism industry workers who will have face-to-face contact with the travelers.
“Sa tourism, dapat e-uban nila sa frontliners ang mga hotel workers because we are also frontliners in terms of having the guests and we could use that to entice more tourists to come because we will tell them ‘Bohol is safe because we are vaccinated’,” Gonzales said.
The resort manager expressed support for the prioritized vaccination of workers in resorts, hotels and restaurants.
He also called for the government to ramp up its mass drive to inoculate the rest of the Bohol community to allow the safe travel of tourists within the island.
“That’s one way of enticing people that it is safe to go to go to Bohol because people are vaccinated na didto, and aside from the [tourism] workers, mga katawhan na, the community because if the tourists will be going mag tour sa mga lugar, and they will go to Loboc, and people there are vaccinated na, they will feel safe,” he said.
Tourism was one of the main economic drivers in Bohol prior to the pandemic and was a source of thousands of both industry-direct and indirect job opportunities for locals.
So far, the national government has facilitated the vaccination of health workers and has recently started the inoculation of senior citizens and persons with comorbidities who are more prone to serious symptoms and complications of COVID-19.
In late March, the Department of Tourism appealed to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez to widen the vaccination priority list for workers in the tourism industry including tour guides, operators and other accredited workers and service providers.
“The frontline nature of the jobs of these workers requires face-to-face interaction with individuals and groups as we prepare for the recovery of the industry, which contributes some 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product,” DOT said in a statement issued on March 30, 2021.
“Not only will vaccination protect these workers from the Covid-19 virus as we prepare to welcome foreign and domestic tourists; it also serves as a firewall of sorts that will restrict the spread of the virus in our tourist destinations. The lifting of travel restrictions and the quick recovery of the tourism industry – and the national economy as a whole — hinge heavily on the health and safety of our tourism workers,” it added. (R. Tutas)