Executives of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila met with Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco recently at the DOT Central Office to discuss matters concerning the impending closure of the iconic property.

Frasco expressed that the DOT is deeply saddened by the impending cessation of operations of Sofitel Philippine Plaza. However, the DOT agrees with Sofitel management that the safety of employees and guests is of paramount importance.

“Thank you for all of the contributions that you, and the institution that is Sofitel, have made to the tourism industry. It is one that has seen our country through many seasons, and has stood the test of time. We are in complete agreement in terms of prioritizing worker and tourist safety as that is paramount over and above anything else,” the tourism chief said.

“We are very dismayed with the announcement of the impending closure of Sofitel, being an icon of Philippine hospitality for nearly 50 years. 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,” the tourism head noted.

“The closure of this iconic hotel is a significant loss for the tourism industry.”

She stressed that the DOT sees the closure of this iconic hotel as a significant loss for the tourism industry, as well as for the employees and stakeholders who have dedicated their lives and expended efforts to provide exceptional service to guests, while also inquiring how the Department can be of further assistance in their current situation.

“I am glad that we are able to do this dialogue so that first, we would know from you the context of the announcement of closure and second, to express our grave concern for the employees that will be losing their livelihood as a result of the closure,” Frasco  added, while noting that the DOT through its NCR office is assisting Sofitel in the job fairs to be held for the affected employees.

According to Esteban Peña Sy, Philippine Plaza Holdings, Inc. President and owner of Sofitel Philippine Plaza, they are grateful for the DOT’s offer of assistance as they remain optimistic of future developments, especially that the performance of the hotel “has had its best years ever in 2022 and 2023”, with occupancy rates reaching 86 percent to 100 percent on some months.

“Separation packages would be offered to affected employees, and job training seminars so they will be adequately equipped as they transition to new roles.”

Sy said that separation packages would be offered to affected employees, and job training seminars “so they will be adequately equipped” as they transition to new roles.

Sofitel Hotels and Resorts are a French hotel chain of luxury hotels based in Paris, France, and owned by Accor.

“We want to assure you that we will help you and the employees in any way we can,” Frasco assured.

“Thank you and we hope for your assistance and we will take your guidance,” Sy responded.

Sofitel Philippine General Manager Olivier Larcher also affirmed that, before the closure announcement, the property is doing well with 2022 and 2023 as their best years in business.

Also present during the meeting are Philippine Plaza Holdings, Inc. Director Shunsuke Nakata, Sofitel Director of Conference and Events Cynthia Esteban, and DOT officials Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, NCR Regional Director Sharlene Batin, Director Ina Zara-Loyola, and Head Executive Assistant Glenn Ocampo.


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