A veteran in the exhibition and hotel industry yesterday called for the establishment of lagoon bungalows ,which he said would be the ideal prescription for Sri Lanka’s tourist industry.
Chairman of Connaissance De Ceylan Events and Travels,Maalu Maalu and Aliya Resorts and Spa,Chandra Wickramasinghe told “The Island” on the sidelines of the first edition of Food & Hospitality Asia – Maldives (FHAM 2014) International Culinary Challenge and Exhibition being held at the Dharubaaruge Exhibition Center in Male,that Maldivian resorts with whole islands to itself, had reaped the benefits of constructing beach bungalows, which was part of the perfect product it marketed,but that was not possible in Sri Lanka since its beaches were public territory.
“However,we could promote the concept of lagoon bungalows which provides an element of privacy.It, would also contribute to attracting more high end leisure travellers “,he said adding that it was essential to think “out of the box” to restore the image of the country’s hotel industry which was lost due to a near thirty year war.
Wickramasinghe, pointed out that Maldives had 110 resorts with 60 more in the pipeline to service the over two million tourists it was targeting for this year,which meant more opportunities for hotel suppliers including those in Sri Lanka, which FHAM 2014 ,jointly organized by Connaissance De Ceylan Events and Travels (CDCET), one of Sri Lanka’s largest inbound tour operators and Dhivehi Expo Services(DES) had hosted.
The Maldivian resorts,he observed had an added advantage since they could import their requirements of the best branded products,duty free directly from the exporter, unlike in Sri Lanka,where you had to go through the licenced holder, leading to possible time delays and higher costs.
Welcoming the ongoing infrastructure development, Wickramasinghe regretted that some of the highways led to shopping malls in Kandy.”We,need to also focus on the lush green environment and diverse attractions the country abundantly possessed and not just shopping complexes.Promoting local products and food stuffs was equally important.Incentives and packages should also be provided to attract foreign youth who want to explore the world.”
The Home Stay Concept involving villagers as well,was an innovative idea.The construction of small and medium scale hotels should also be encouraged with the necessary incentives being provided,which would ensure that a greater percentage of Sri Lankans could contribute to the development of the tourist industry and also benefit from a share of the revenue.Promoting only the big hotel and resort chains would prove to be counter productive in the long run,he emphasized.
The Maldivian Economic Development Minister Mohammed Saeed speaking to “The Island” after having declared open FHAM 2014 on Sunday, said that his government welcomed the staging of hotel supplies exhibitions and culinary competitions in Male,as it gave the tourist industry which was his country’s main foreign exchange earner, a choice of world class brands to choose from.
“This Show has helped strengthen the bridges built between the Maldivian leisure industry and Sri Lankan hotel suppliers”,he noted while observing that it was also good to see both countries being jointly promoted as tourist destinations.
The Culinary Challenge,would help hone the skills of chefs who were an important and integral part of the leisure industry.Even the best destination had to be complemented with good food,as tourists would not be happy if they had to consume sub standard meals and drinks,the minister said.
Maldives with its scenic attractions was the “pill” that was taken to relax and unwind,he prescribed.”We,take great pride in our beautiful country with its scenic attractions.A great deal of effort has gone in to maintaining the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters for the benefit of the large number of tourists who come from various parts of the world,year in year out.”
Welcoming the launch of the Chefs Guild of Maldives (CGM),with the assistance of the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka(CGSL) ,Saeed expressed confidence that it would help bring out the best in Culinary Art,which could also be promoted, just as the country did with the concept of Sun,Sea and Sand.
He,explained that Maldives did not rate its hotels and resorts,but with the establishment of the CGM, the World Association of Chefs Societies(WACS) would be in a position to begin the process of grading in due course.
The President of WACS Gissur Gudmundsson said he was happy and honoured to be present at the CGM launch, which could be described as a milestone in the country’s hospitality industry.
Its not just about participating,it was also important to network among chefs who numbered around 10 million worldwide,he emphasized. Founder of CGM and Co-Chairperson – FHAM Culinary Challenge, Maryam Noordeen said that the establishment of CGM would energise both the Maldivian and foreign chefs,who included a large number of Sri Lankans working in the Maldivian archipelago.
“Very soon we would be a member of WACS”,she observed while pledging to maintain professional standards and also work closely with the CGSL. Chairman of the CGSL and Co Chairperson of FHAM Culinary Competition, Gerard Mendis said that the launch of CGM in the presence of WACS President Gissur Gudmundsson, was a landmark occasion in the culinary history of the Maldives and was certain to empower the profession.
Recalling the tough period that the CGSL went through during its initial stages twenty years back, he urged all chefs in the Maldives to join the CGM and help it achieve the desired objectives.” Sri Lanka was the 36th country to join WACS and it now has over a 100 members.Our chefs are recognized globally and we would continue to provide any assistance that the CGM requested.”
Managing Managing Director of CDCET, Imran Hassan said that a much talked about aspect of FHAM 2014 was the advanced Kitchen equipment being used by participants at the Culinary Challenge.”We are conducting industry related seminars on topics such as “F&B Hygiene”,”Olive Oil in Modern Cuisine”, “Bakery Products”,etc.A High Tea meeting for Hotel General Managers and President Gudmundsson was also held.”?their Chefs with WACS
Managing Director of DES, Mohammed Ajmal pledged to develop FHAM into an event that would cater to the changing needs of the Maldivian hospitality industry.”Today,we have more than 100 stalls at this exhibition,which includes a large number of Sri Lankan companies,while 320 chefs are participating at the Culinary Challenge.We, are very thankful for the contribution of the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies,University of Maldives,Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka and the Chefs Guild of Maldives.I, would also like to thank our principal sponsor ‘Lilly F&B’ for its invaluable contribution, ‘Nestle’ the Platinum Sponsor for the Culinary Challenge, ‘Evo Homes’ for the Kitchen Systems, ‘V Media’ the official media and TMA,the official airline.”
Source : http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=109219