Ilocos Norte tourism workers vaccinated against COVID-19


Sep. 02, 2021 ...

The vaccination program of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) continues to spur on as it includes in its priority list stakeholders in the local tourism industry.

Around 1,900 tourism workers have already been immunized, according to the data of PGIN's Provincial Tourism and Provincial Health Offices.

Among the recipients are tour guides, hospitality personnel, event organizers, food service providers, tour agencies, freelance creative workers, MSMEs, local food delivery drivers, and other tourism-related workers.

Notably, Ilocos Norte is one of the first provinces that has started rolling out vaccines for its tourism sector as part of its program towards herd immunity.

A consistent top placer in the Best Tourism-Oriented Local Government Unit (LGU) Category of the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines and Department of Tourism (ATOP-DOT) Pearl Awards, Ilocos Norte's tourism sector is undoubtedly one of its economic powerhouses, boasting of its award-winning efforts in the protection and conservation of cultural properties, including the establishment of new venues and platforms for local artists and events.

Ilocos Norte's tourism sector is currently the hardest-hit by the pandemic. Containment measures and travel restrictions have led to a reduced workforce in the travel and accommodation industries. Also, the need for locally manufactured products and commodities has decreased. A large percentage of it is composed of small homegrown enterprises and family-owned businesses, involving a large number of informally-employed Ilocanos who are most vulnerable to a sudden loss of income.

In line with the effort of the DOT, PGIN has heeded the call to "inoculate tourism frontliners as a key factor in reopening the industry, as well as restore the public's confidence in travel, translating to higher socio-economic activities and boosting our recovery prospects."

"With domestic tourism set to return faster than international travel, this represents an opportunity for destinations like Ilocos Norte to recover from the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic," remarked Mr. Xavier R. Ruiz, Officer-in-Charge of the Provincial Tourism Office.

"Tourism has a multiplier effect on the economy. Money spent in a hotel helps to create jobs directly in the hotel, but it also creates jobs indirectly elsewhere in the economy," Mr. Ruiz further explained.

Almost 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to tourism workers on July 31, 2021, at St. Mary's Seminary in Laoag City. Moreover, PGIN, together with partner local government units, likewise catered to hundreds of tourism frontliners in Pagudpud, Paoay, Burgos, Vintar, Currimao, Pasuquin, San Nicolas, Bangui, Adams, and Badoc.

Ilocos Norte welcomed a record high of three million day visitors in a single year prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.