Tourism department announces walk-in booster shots available for travelers going to Boracay

From L-R: Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores; Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat; Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Undersecretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales; National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.; Malay Mayor Frolibar S. Bautista; and NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Secretary Vince Dizon walk the shores of Boracay Island Friday (Feb. 11) on the sidelines of the Resbakuna sa Botika and Resbakuna Kids launch in the world-renowned tourist destination. I DOT Photo

BORACAY — Fully vaccinated local and foreign tourists visiting this island can walk in and have their booster shots administered by licensed pharmacists on the island, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said Friday, February 11.

Puyat made the statement at the launching of the Resbakuna sa Botika program at the Watson’s Pharmacy City Mall Boracay. She was joined at the launch by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Chief Implementer, Secretary Vince Dizon, NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar, Undersecretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), Aklan Gov. Florencio T. Miraflores and Malay Mayor Frolibar S. Bautista.

The secretaries also proceeded to Paradise Garden Resort for the roll out of the Resbakuna KIDS program in Boracay.

Puyat shared her elation with the two Resbakuna programs, which, she said, would “add another layer of protection” as more tourists are expected to visit the island in the weeks to come.

“Just yesterday, the Philippines finally opened its borders to inbound leisure travel, a development we have been waiting for after nearly two years. We expect Boracay Island, our crown jewel of tourism, to once again fill up with travelers from around the world. The Resbakuna sa Botika Program will provide an added layer of protection to the island’s domestic visitors. This will impact on the tourism industry and all the Filipinos whose livelihoods depend on tourism,” the DOT chief added.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat gives her message of support during the Resbakuna sa Botika launch in Boracay Island on February 11. Under this program, she announced, fully vaccinated local and foreign tourists can walk in at the Watson’s Pharmacy City Mall and have their booster shots against COVID-19. I DOT Photo

“Without a doubt, this program, which makes it even more convenient for the island’s population to gain access to life-saving vaccine, will help bring the boosted vaccination rate closer to 100 percent much faster than before,” she added.

Puyat also commended the local chief executives of Aklan and Malay town for the impressive inoculation rates among Boracay’s tourism workers. Based on the Department’s data as of as of Feb. 10, a total of 17,910 or 102.51 percent of the targeted population of tourism workers on the island have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A total of 2,671 or 15.29 percent have been given booster shots.

“This number is expected to boost the confidence of tourists in travelling to Boracay, knowing that the people who make their stay wonderful are protected,” Puyat said.

In addition to the island’s already high vaccination rate, Puyat said that various inspections related to accreditation, minimum health and safety guidelines, and Safety Seal certifications are continuously being conducted by the DOT’s Boracay Field Office to prepare Boracay tourism establishments for the anticipated influx of visitors.

As of Feb. 7, a total 81 accommodation establishments and one travel and tour agency/operator in Boracay have been certified under the Safety Seal program. A total of 24 entities—including the island itself as a tourist destination – have received the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The DOT chief also disclosed that a total of 12,956 rooms in 314 accredited accommodation establishments in Boracay are available for local and foreign guests alike.

From L-R: Malay Mayor Frolibar S. Bautista, NTF Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, and Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores observes as a Boracay resident gets her COVID-19 shot during the February 11 launch of the Resbakuna sa Botika program at the Watson’s Pharmacy City Mall, Boracay Island. I DOT Photo

Puyat also disclosed that new tourism products which will soon be offered in the island “to cater to demands of tourists in this new era of travel”.

These, she said, include a Boracay Biking Tour that will showcase the island’s scenic terrain; a Boracay Food Crawl, billed as a “deconstructed” experience featuring the island’s diverse cuisine; and the Boracay Wellness Workation Program for those who want to work remotely on the island.

Puyat reiterated the importance of maintaining a close coordination between public and private sector, as well as regular stakeholder discussions on how the tourism on the island can be improved.

“I am looking forward to our discussions on how we can further improve Boracay’s recovery. It’s always good to hear your perspective and opinions on the situation. I assure you, the DOT respectfully takes these into account whenever we formulate our policies and programs to bring forth a safer, stronger, and more inclusive tourism industry,” Puyat said.

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