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DOT: More than half of PH tourist employees have already been vaccinated

As of September 30, about 53% of the country’s tourist employees have been vaccinated against the coronavirus illness in 2019 (Covid-19), indicating that tourism operations may resume safely under the new normal.

In Metro Manila, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said 99 percent of hotel and DOT-accredited restaurant employees, as well as 97 percent of tour guides and tour operators, had been vaccinated.

“(K)ung pag-uusapan mo ang buong Pilipinas, ang bakunado ay 53 percent (If it’s national, the vaccinated is 53 percent),” Puyat said Thursday, adding that the Department of Tourist will speed up the vaccination drive for tourism employees to achieve 100 percent by Christmas.

She expressed her desire for the reopening of additional locations by the end of the year but also said that the DOT will ensure that certified lodging facilities adhere to government procedures.

“Sana tuluy-tuloy na ito kasi wala pang bakuna na hindi kagaya last year. At the very least, may bakuna na at we are aggressively vaccinating all tourist employees this year (I hope this trend continues, unlike previous year.) At the very least, we have vaccinations and are aggressively immunizing our tourist employees), “Puyat said.

Leisure travel from Metro Manila to places under general community quarantine and modified GCQ is permitted under Alert Level 4 of the experimental Covid-19 alert level system, as long as the destination’s local authority allows.

The DOT, on the other hand, is lobbying for the age limit to be lifted since most Filipinos travel as a family, according to Puyat.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), outdoor or al fresco dining is allowed at 30 percent venue capacity in Alert Level 4, however, staycations, indoor visitor or tourist attractions, and indoor venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) are banned.

The DOT performs frequent “spot inspections” to ensure that all DOT-accredited hotels in the NCR comply with the current alert level standards, according to the tourism head.

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