The Philippines government is gradually preparing for life after COVID, announcing plans to vaccinate everyone working within the nation’s tourism industry by the end of the year.
The program, estimated to affect around 5 million people nationwide, would target anyone working in a role that has direct contact with tourists, including hotel and casino staff, restaurant employees plus drivers and airport workers, among others.
Speaking at a tourism event in Cebu on Friday, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr – who oversees the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 – noted the importance of the tourism industry to the Philippines’ economic recovery.
“When the pandemic struck, the nation’s tourism sector took a major hit. We believe that in order for the industry to get back on its feet and safely open our economy, we need to vaccinate as many members of our workforce as possible,” he said.
On Cebu specifically, Galvez said, “By providing our workers here in Cebu with an extra layer of protection against the virus, they will have more confidence to return to their jobs, which in turn shall encourage tourism operators to increase their operational capacity and result in an economic revival here in the province.”
The Philippines recorded 20,755 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the first time in over a week that the daily figure had crept above 20,000.