The Department of Tourism (DOT) continues to insists the government that the tour guides, operators, and other accredited workers and service providers must be included in the Philippines ' A4 vaccine priority group.
The DOT requests the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and the vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez. Jr. to expand the list of vaccination priority and to include the workers' mention, as it is part of their jobs to come face-to-face with their clients.
"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 DOT said last Tuesday.
The Philippines' foreign tourism receipts fell by 83 percent this year. From PHP 482.16 billion in 2019 to only PHP 82.24 billion this 2020. This makes the tourism sector one of the heavily impacted industries from the pandemic in the entire country.
Moreover, the department said that the country is "hinge heavily" on the health and safety of its tourism workers, as they will play a major key role for the national economy, once the travel restriction is lifted and once the industry finally recovers its losses.
"While we are grateful that Secretary Galves has included those working in airports and quarantine hotels on the immunization Priority Group A4, we are hopeful that the other tourism front liners will be prioritized as well," the DOT added.
Included within the A4 group or the frontline personnel in essential workers are the Tourism front-liners. Before the pandemic occurred, the tourism industry employed about 5.7 million workers.
Source: Philippine News Agency (PNA)