DOT: Sofitel closure ‘significant loss’ for tourism

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
DOT: Sofitel closure �significant loss� for tourism
File photo of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The upcoming closure of the five-star Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila hotel would be a “significant loss for the tourism industry,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Monday.

Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said this in a meeting with officials of the luxury hotel led by Esteban Peña Sy, president of the hotel’s owner Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc., at the DOT office.

The DOT was “very dismayed” upon learning that Sofitel would shut its doors to guests on July 1, according to a statement from the agency.

“We heard the news with much concern, especially that we view our hotel and accommodation sector as a critical component of the industry, especially now that we are making efforts to elevate the status of Philippine tourism vis-a-vis our ASEAN counterparts,” she said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Frasco agreed that the closure of the hotel would show that it “prioritizes worker and tourist safety as that is paramount over and above anything else.”

Peña Sy previously declared Sofitel had to be closed due to safety issues that included “27 fire incidents” and evacuation of its estimated 1,000 guests because of busted water pipes.

He also denied claims that among the factors for the shutdown were lease agreements with the hotel’s landowner Government Service Insurance System  and reclamation projects that blocked the hotel’s view of the Manila Bay sunset.

During the meeting, Frasco also assured it would “assist” displaced employees through job fairs to be held by the DOT’s Metro Manila office.

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