Moalboal, Cebu

Nearly 100 percent of tourism workers employed in dive establishments in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19, an indication that this niche market is ready to welcome foreign visitors.

The latest data from 105 Dive Establishments (DEs) and Liveaboards Dive Establishments (LDEs) accredited by the Department of Tourism’s Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) revealed that 1,342 personnel or 95.78% out of 1,401 employees have already been inoculated (first dose and fully vaccinated) against COVID-19, while the remaining 59 employees (4.21 percent) are still for vaccination.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the vaccination of workers in the dive sector will help strengthen the country’s position as one of the leading dive destinations globally.

“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. Now that our borders are being eased to foreign visitors, it is imperative to protect our workforce against the virus,” said Puyat. 

“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,” she added.

The Philippines bagged the WTA title as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination for the third consecutive year since 2019. 

Some tourism workers remain unvaccinated due to missed vaccine appointments and preference of vaccine brands that are not available in their area. 

According to the latest data from DOT, about 75.39% or 236,714 of the total active tourism workers in the country are now vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Puyat expressed her satisfaction with the latest vaccine numbers as she hoped for higher vaccination coverage in the near-term. 

As of November 19,the National Capital Region (NCR) is still the region the highest vaccination coverage for tourism workers with 99.79%, followed by Region XI with 99.11%, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 96.79%, Region III with 95.10%, and Region VIII with 90.55%.