Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Monday said Bohol needs about 140,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate residents particularly tourism industry workers in a bid to revive the once booming tourism sector in the province.
According to Puyat, the DOT requested vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez for the allocation of two-dose jabs for about 70,000 tourism industry workers in the province.
“Nung una Governor [Art] Yap wanted the whole of Bohol but we were thinking kung ano ba yung minimum, at least, and he gave a number of 70,000,” said Puyat during a virtual forum on the prospects of Bohol tourism amid the pandemic.
The DOT is optimistic that the allocation for the tourism sector will be made once more doses arrive in the country.
“We have already given this [request] to Sec. Galvez and I believe if there is supply, mabibigyan naman. But of course it would depend on when the supply is coming,” she said.
Puyat said the prioritized vaccination will cover “tourism frontliners” such as hotel and restaurant workers and other personnel in tourism-related industries including drivers and even media practitioners.
The DOT chief noted that revival of the tourism industry is largely dependent on the vaccination campaign.
Puyat said that the DOT since February has been pushing for the inclusion of tourism industry workers in the priority list of the government’s nationwide vaccination drive.
“That [vaccination] is the only way to restart tourism,” Puyat said.
“I was already on my way to Bohol, biglang tumaas ang cases namin, tapos nanaman, stop nanaman ang tourism. Sana with vaccination tuloy-tuloy na,” she added.
Bohol with the help of the DOT has actively been promoting its reopening to tourists since October last year but the effort has been hampered by travel restrictions and the persisting COVID-19 threat in the country.
Bohol in particular consistently recorded over a 1,000 active COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks based on data from the Department of Health (DOH). (A. Doydora)