DOT-Eastern Visayas urges hotel staff and tourism workers to get vaxxed

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The Eastern Visayas Department of Tourism (DOT) has urged hotel workers and other tourism workers in the region to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“The DOT-Eastern Visayas had advocated for vaccination against Covid-19 in the tourism sector which has been severely affected by this pandemic. This aims to help the industry to recover, to resume its activities which are vital and good not only for the local economy but also for the national one, ”said Karen Tiopes, Regional Director of Tourism.

At least 171 accommodation establishments in the region have achieved the 100% vaccination rate against Covid-19 for their staff.

In the city of Tacloban, the region’s capital, some 35 facilities have achieved an immunization rate of 100 percent.

“This is the great confidence for the travel bubble and the safety and security of tourism, employment, Region 8 of the city of Tacloban,” said Jerick Florano, resident director of XYZ.

He said it was difficult at first to convince their staff to get vaccinated. But after receiving her first dose, other hotel staff also underwent the vaccination.

According to Florano, all 85 employees at XYZ are now fully vaccinated.

XYZ is still operating at 50% capacity, but Florano said that aside from locals, guests from outside the region also increase by at least 2%.

“For those who work in the tourism and hospitality industry, sana magpavaccine na lahat. Aside from the fact that we require other guests and other customers for the vaccination, sana tayo rin has been vaccinated, ”added Rose Angelie Zalavarria, one of the fully vaccinated staff at XYZ.

In the town of Palo, the Oriental Hotel de Leyte is one of two accommodation establishments that are staffed fully vaccinated, according to the DOT-Eastern Visayas.

All 65 hotel staff are already fully immunized with help from DOT and the Palo local government unit.

“We really encourage all of my fellow hoteliers to get your vaccinations, kasi kailangan natin ‘to. DOT is really pushing for hotels to be a safe and young destination,” said Oriental General Manager Anito Lanticse.

He added that the staff who are 100% fully vaccinated help the operation of the hotel to gain the trust of its customers.

Even though all of their workers are already fully vaccinated, Lanticse has maintained that they will enforce and always demand strict adherence to minimum health protocols, such as wearing face masks, observing physical distancing, and disinfecting hands.

Awee Almaden, sales manager at Leyte Oriental, said that as the hotel’s frontline that regularly meets with customers, the vaccine gives her extra protection against Covid-19, which is why she urges other workers in the tourism industry to do the same.

“For us who work in the hospitality industry, getting the vaccine helps build customer confidence. So I encourage everyone to get vaccinated for the safety of employees and customers, ”said Almaden.

“Because we are still facing this pandemic, getting the vaccine is very important, especially if you like to travel and still meet a lot of people from various places,” said another regular guest from Oriental.

In Leyte, Villaconzoilo Farm, an integrated farm located in the town of Jaro, with 26 employees, is the only DOT-accredited community tourism organization (CBTO) that has fully vaccinated tourism workers based on the record provided by The direction.

As more and more accommodation facilities in the region have fully vaccinated staff, the Covid-19 vaccination program faces problems within the CBTO due to misinformation, including beliefs or religion, according to the DOT.

“Para ma secure yung establishments natin, yung pamilya, to the yung community, ini-encourage ko po kayo na magpa-vaccine dahil wala naman pong mawawala sa atin, magkakaroon po tayo ng proteksyon and yung mga guest natin mapi-feel nila sa safe sila na pumunta sa inyong lugae dahil vaccinated na tayo ”, said Virgil Horca, supervisor of Villaconzoilo Farm.

Even no case of Covid-19 has been recorded in the village of Villaconzoilo, the management is seeking help from the local government unit and giving them a vaccination schedule.

“Whatever vaccine is available, get vaccinated. It is for your protection, for your family and for the people you meet at your work, ”added Sherly Paca-anas, who is assigned to the restaurant in Villaconzoilo.

The national government is expected to conduct another national immunization program from December 15 to 19, but the schedule has been moved from December 20 to 22 due to severe tropical storm Rai (Odette).

The government organized the first round of national vaccination from November 29 to December 3.

The Eastern Visayas ranked fourth in the first national vaccination campaign with around 421,220 people who received their Covid-19 vaccines. (SunStar Philippines)

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