Bohol Gov. says local tourism still far from recovery

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 13) — Bohol, a popular tourist destination, is far from recovery from the pandemic-triggered slump in the industry even after it started welcoming travellers again in December, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said.

Malayo pa tayo sa usaping bawi,” Yap said during the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday.

[Translation: We are still far from recovery.]

He noted from 30,000 tourists going in and out of the island-province per day prior to the pandemic, only 1,000 now visit the province per month, including their local tourists.

As the government eases travel restrictions, Yap said they still have to implement measures to prevent any massive transmission of the virus in their province, which include requiring a negative swab test taken at least 72 hours before the date of arrival.

READ: What you need to know ahead of Bohol tourism reopening

However, Yap noted that what will make the situation improve is the proper rollout of the government vaccination program.

“We really think na ang deal maker dito ay ang vaccine… I think may fighting chance tayo na mas babalik tayo sa normalcy in terms of tourism, business, investments [with the rollout],” he added.

[Translation: We really think that the deal maker here is the vaccine. I think we have a fighting chance to return to normalcy in terms of tourism, business, investments with the rollout.]

Yap said Bohol started its vaccine program two weeks ago in one of the local government hospitals.

The government targets to procure around 140 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to immunize up to 70 million Filipinos. Currently available vaccines are only around 1 million doses which are being administered to the priority sector, the healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, latest data from the Department of Heath showed that total infections in Bohol are at 1,631, of which 332 are active. Death toll stood low at 20 and recoveries are at 1,279.