AN INFECTIOUS disease specialist has emphasized the importance of prioritizing the vaccination of the tourism sector to help build confidence among travelers.

Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, during the Cebu Business Month 2021 Tourism Summit online forum, said tourism workers are vulnerable to the virus since they are in close contact with tourists who may be potential carriers.

Lim said when he asked some tourism workers in Bantayan Island whether they are willing to get vaccinated, around 70 to 80 percent agreed.

“If more will be vaccinated, more tourists will come because they will feel safer in a tourism site wherein the staffs are all vaccinated,” he said, noting that the level of motivation is high since the possible outcome affects the livelihood of the tourism workers.

Bohol’s tourism inoculation

Recently, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced the inoculation of 5,000 Bohol tourism workers on June 14, 2021.

“With these vaccines, we are assured that frontliners from accredited hotel and resort staff, transport operators, tour site and restaurant facilities will have an added protection against Covid-19,” she said in a press release.

The Department of Tourism regarded Bohol as a prime tourism destination. “The province has been reeling from the massive downturn in the sector,” it said.

According to the Bohol Provincial Government, more than 200,000 workers were gravely affected by the community quarantine imposition—either laid off by their employers, or put on itinerant work schedules.

Meanwhile, Bohol Gov. Art Yap clarified that workers coming from DOT-accredited establishments that have secured the Certificate of Authority to Operate and Bohol’s tourism seal of excellence called the Ultimate Bohol Experience Seal will be prioritized in the early vaccination program.

Puyat added that with the inoculation of tourism workers in Bohol, she is optimistic that a travel bubble between the province and destinations in Asia will soon be feasible.

“There are no standard procedures in confronting this pandemic. 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. Bohol’s local procedures have always strived to keep the locals safe while remaining welcome to tourism. This makes Bohol a prime candidate when we begin opening up direct travel bubbles with select regional destinations very soon,” Puyat said. (JOB)