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.
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 rollout 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 the tourism industry and all the Filipinos whose livelihoods depend on tourism,” the DOT chief added.
“Without a doubt, this program, which makes it even more convenient for the island’s population to gain access to the 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 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 traveling 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 of 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.
Puyat also disclosed that new tourism products will soon be offered on 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 close coordination between the public and private sectors, as well as regular stakeholder discussions on how 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.
Credit: Featured photo of Boracay taken from Malay-Boracay Tourism Office FB Page.