SOFITEL Philippine Plaza has lost an estimated P20 million after the decline in tourist arrivals caused by the coronavirus outbreak, its top official said on Thursday.

“Even though we do not concentrate in the Chinese tourist market… still there are some people who have been refraining from coming to parties — and some gatherings were cancelled,” Sofitel President Esteban G. Peña Sy said in an interview.

He said the losses were largely concentrated on reduced demand for the hotel’s event and restaurant dining venues.

“Even the restaurant business, usually it’s always full. But these days it’s easier to book a table. We are affected to a certain extent,” he said.

He said the hotel does not focus on tourist groups. Many of its customers are Western tourists, along with some Chinese business executives.

Mr. Peña Sy added that almost half of the hotel’s clients are locals.

“Other hotels maybe if they concentrate more on the Chinese market, then I think the effect is very serious,” he said. “We are hoping that things will be over soon, that more parties will be coming back, more gatherings.”

Mr. Peña Sy said that Sofitel is looking to attract more tourists coming to Asia for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Maybe when people go to Japan for the Olympics, some of them will pass by this area. We are trying to coordinate with the government,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority last week said the tourism industry could lose up to P22.7 billion per month amid the outbreak.

The tourism industry has been focusing its efforts on attracting the domestic market, offering lower rates for hotel bookings and flights, to make up for losses. — Jenina P. Ibañez