The 12th edition of Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge has officially opened this morning with an inauguration ceremony held at Hiriyaa Maalam, Dharubaaruge’.

The three-day event taking place at Dharubaaruge’, Male’, is organised by the Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services (MECS) together with the event’s long-standing partner and main sponsor Bestbuy Maldives Pvt Ltd (BBM). This year’s exhibition has more than 170 stalls representing 25 countries.

Ahmed Jaamiz, Director of MECS delivered the welcome address at the inauguration ceremony.

“I am proud to say that this is the biggest exhibition conducted in the Maldives and as you can see we have used every inch of space we have available at this venue,” he said.

Jaamiz also noted that this year’s culinary challenge has seen more than 550 entries, the highest number recorded since the inception of the event in 2002.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Judge of the International Culinary Challenge and Project Director of South Asia Exhibition Services, Alan Palmer introduced the 18 judges who are judging the International Culinary Challenge.

The culinary competition commenced yesterday and will continue till the 7th of September.

Palmer has been involved in the Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge since the first event, and in his speech he noted how the exhibition and culinary competition has expanded over the years. “I have been here since day one, back in 2002. Back then we had 40 entries in the culinary challenge and now we have more than 500,” he said.

Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge 2016 was officially inaugurated by the chief guest of the ceremony Minister of Tourism Moosa Zameer. In his speech the minister congratulated the MECS for holding the event for the 12th consecutive time.

“I believe that the main aim of the Hotel Asia Exhibition is to create the opportunity for local and international suppliers in the hospitality industry to display and promote their products and services and also to introduce the latest technologies used in the industry. This indeed is vital for the tourism and hospitality industry,” Zameer said.

Arjun Dharmadasa, Managing Director, South Asia Exhibition Services delivered the vote of thanks. In his speech he thanked the government of Maldives, the international panel of judges who are judging the culinary challenge, Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCI), partners and the sponsors of the event.

“The objective of our participation is to consolidate our market position as well as to introduce new products ranges, pay gratitude for our beloved customers and conduct knowledge sharing forums. We are extremely happy about the turnout” said Mohamed Mazloom, CEO of the main sponsor BBM while speaking with Hotelier Maldives after the ceremony.

Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge 2016 is endorsed and supported by Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Economic Development, Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council and National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka.

The event is held in partnership with MNCI with Asaree Services as Event Partner.

Official sponsors of the event include Uniforms Unlimited (Uniform provider), Etihad Airways (Airline), TTS Maldives (Logistics), Hotelier Maldives (Magazine), The Beehive (Hotel), Mihaaru (Online media), Dhiraagu (Telecom) and Lowe (Culinary equipment).