Thirteenth Edition of Hotel Asia is now open at Dharubaaruge

Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge 2017—the largest trade exhibition and culinary competition of its kind in the Maldives—has kicked off in Dharubaaruge. The thirteenth edition of Hotel Asia Exhibition is held from September 18 to 20, while the International Culinary Challenge, held as part of the exhibition, opened on September 17 and will continue until the 20th.

The exhibition was officially declared open by Ahmed Munawar, the Minister of Finance and Treasury. “Over the years, the exhibition has become one of the most sought-after events in the country, and one that is the broadest, catering to each and every aspect of the hotel industry,” said Munawar, speaking at the inauguration of the event.

He also went on to highlight the importance of tourism to the economy and noted on the government’s developmental projects which are especially targeting the tourism sector, including the Velana International Airport expansion project. This is a record year for the annual exhibition, with its culinary competition drawing entries from over 600 chefs, while some 2,000 brands are being represented at some 175 stalls.

Bestbuy Maldives Pvt Ltd (BBM)—one of the largest F&B suppliers in the hospitality industry—is the main sponsor of the event, where organisers set a more interactive tone in the run-up to the event with Masterchef styled Masterclasses and specialised seminars.

“The overriding purpose of the show is to cultivate healthy relationships between hospitality providers, suppliers and the community,” explained Aasim Mukthar, CEO of Maldives Exhibition and Conference Service (MECS), the organiser of the event.

“The only way to achieve any growth potential is through harmonious relationships in trade and services.  Hotel Asia is a platform for counterparts to speak to each other. It is a one-stop shop for anyone in the hospitality field.”

Exhibitors are showcasing portfolios covering aspects of the industry including in “the best in” food & beverage, room technology, laundry, air conditioning, hygiene and catering, architecture, gardening, landscaping, outdoor furniture, swimming pools, waste management, software systems and modern security systems and a wide array of hotel supplies.“We have taken the trouble to partner and invested in the development of Hotel Asia from the inception, the journey has had its challenges but Bestbuy, with God’s Grace, had weathered the storms,” said Ismail Hilmy, Chairman and Managing Director of BBM.

“We at Bestbuy are keen to see that the Culinary Challenge associated with Hotel Asia contribute to the people working in the industry, giving them the opportunity to be creative and hopefully shine in their chosen profession.”

According to the organiser, exhibitors and visitors from all parts of the world have gathered in Malé under one roof for the spectacular three-day event, while hotels in Malé have been sold out for this period due to the increasing number of visitors and exhibitors for the event.

The three-day event will introduce a series of seminars and masterclasses in conjunction with the exhibition and culinary challenge. It is a forum for General Managers, Resort Managers, Owners of properties and aspiring Chefs to exchange insight on several related topics, with a focus on improving the standards in hotels and resorts.

The Hotel Asia International Culinary Challenge—a definite crowd puller—is the regions premier culinary competition which also obtained due recognition and endorsement from the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS). The competition recognises contestants’ skills in preparation of speciality dishes specifically looking at cooking techniques, use of ingredients and plating. It is adjudged by a star-studded panel of 18 distinguished, world qualified judges, which is another factor that contributes greatly to the credibility of the event.

According to the organiser, the exhibition itself is a tremendous opportunity for resort owners to see what new technology, products and services are available in the market. Recognised as an International Standard Exhibition, Hotel Asia is considered the purchasing forum for resorts and hotels annually.

Maldives invest millions of dollars into food imports and hospitality equipment and the international attraction towards such a rapidly evolving market ensures the most influential exhibitors and visitors participate. Hotel Asia is more than a regional event, it is an international showcase and a global business arena. The exhibition is a sold-out event, and currently, has a wait list of companies inquiring about participation.