MANILA— Majority of tourism workers in dive establishments have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Tourism said Friday, as the industry aimed for recovery with more destinations in the country opening up with easing virus cases.
Some 1,342 out of 1,401 employees or 95.78 percent have received full doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the DOT said, citing data from dozens of dive establishments accredited with the agency's Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving.
Some 59 employees or 4.21 percent remain unvaccinated, data further showed.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said those who have not received shots were either pregnant, with comorbidities or are hesitant to take the vaccine.
Some workers, meanwhile, remain unvaccinated due to missed vaccine appointments and preference of vaccine brands, which are not available in their area, she added.
"The DOT shall continue to work with other national and local government agencies as well as our stakeholders in the private sector to vaccinate all tourism workers in the country as soon as possible," Puyat said in a statement.
"Now that our borders are being eased to foreign visitors, it is imperative to protect our workforce against the virus."
Since 2019, the Philippines has been recognized at the World Travel Awards as Asia’s leading dive destination.
"With our recent win as Asia’s leading dive destination at the 28th World Travel Awards (WTA) last October, we anticipate a good volume of foreign tourists returning to our dive spots in the coming months," Puyat said.
The Philippines has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign travelers, following moves by other Southeast Asian countries to relax travel curbs.
According to the government's pandemic task force, fully-vaccinated foreigners from green states or jurisdictions are required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure and no longer need to observe facility-based quarantine or take another RT-PCR test upon arrival.