Clark, Pampanga – The Department of Tourism (DOT) continues its vaccination drive in the country’s gastronomic epicenter helping the tourism workers under the A1 health priority group from Central Luzon achieve a 100 percent inoculation rate.
On Saturday (October 9), Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat returned to Pampanga to oversee the vaccination of some 518 tourism workers employed in accommodation establishments used as quarantine or isolation facilities in Central Luzon. This completes the DOT’s target of inoculating 3,109 tourism workers in A1 hotels across Pampanga, Tarlac, Clark and Subic Bay Freeport Zones, Angeles City, and Olongapo City.
Puyat was joined by National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon, Clark Freeport Zone President and Chief Operating Officer (CEO), PBGen. Manuel R. Gaerlan (Ret.), DOT-Region III Director Caroline Uy and DOH-Region III Corazon Flores.
Puyat also led the first leg of the vaccine roll-out last August 12, 2021 in San Fernando City wherein some 2000 doses were allotted for the tourism workforce of the province.
The tourism chief stressed that the vaccination initiative of the DOT is crucial to the recovery of the sector, as Central Luzon prides itself as a logical destination for investments and leisure, and with the Province of Pampanga being dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines”.
In Pampanga alone , some 4, 191 tourism workers have received their COVID-19 jabs, or 70.6 percent of the 5,930 target of the DOT. This number represents the workers employed in quarantine hotels, regular hotels, and other tourism enterprises and support services.
“We thank the LGU of Pampanga and the Clark Development Corporation for prioritizing our tourism workers. We have very high hopes for Pampanga’s tourism rebound,” Puyat said, citing that the DOT regional office will be launching the Clark – Bohol via Cebu and the Clark – Busuanga Travel Bubbles as part of the Department’s initiatives to stimulate travel demand to and from Pampanga and to jumpstart leisure travel by air through responsible tourism.
“These travel bubbles will help maximize the utilization of Clark as an alternative gateway. Consequently, this will generate jobs in Pampanga and its neighboring towns, provide business and livelihood opportunities, and drive economic growth,” she added.
She noted that the completion of the new passenger terminal building of the Clark International Airport (CRK) is seen to help Pampanga’s economy bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new passenger terminal building, once operational, will not only provide a modern air travel experience but will help the economy of the province recover from the crisis and equip Northern and Central Luzon with transportation infrastructure for future development. It also supports the TRRP and reformulated NTDP 2016-2022 in accelerating safe and green travel infrastructure and facilitation once travel is allowed,” she said.
“We are grateful for all the support our tourism stakeholders and workers have shown in complying with these elevated levels of health and safety, which are bringing local tourism establishments in line with global standards. We are also thankful for the support received here in Pampanga for the DOT’s vaccination efforts, which are an essential part of bringing the fun back to Philippine tourism,” Puyat said.
The Central Luzon region offers a wide range of natural wonders, including Minalungao National Park and Mt. 387 in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija; Biak-na-Bato National Park in Bulacan; Mt. Arayat National Park in Pampanga; Sitio Pidpid and Sapang Uwak in Porac, Pampanga; the Eco Park, Glamping Sites and Farm Villages in San Jose, Tarlac; and Pante Capas Falls in Capas, Tarlac.