Saturday, 27 July 2013 00:17
By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka’s premier hospitality service exhibition ‘Hotel Show’ is back again marking its eighth year in the industry calendar with 320 stalls covering all areas of service on the sector.
The three-day event kicked off yesterday at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre amidst showers of blessings and the flagging off of the Sri Lankan leg of the Bocuse d’Or competition that will look for the country’s best chefs to compete in the regional finals next year.
The Hotel Show, having being initiated in 1998, was a biannual event (barring year 2000) until last year when a decision was made to host the exhibition on an annual basis to be up-to-date with industry trends, demands and technology. The one-of-a-kind event is considered the most comprehensive and focused exhibition to be held in the country and is visited by not only local industry but by those in the South Asian region as well as it is recognised as the largest hospitality trade exhibition for the region.
Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association immediate Past President Sarath Fernando noted that in the face of growing competition in the business travel market, it is imperative to keep abreast with changes and developments happening on a global scale. “We looked at the need of the industry and every prospective hotelier and saw that there is need to have this annually so that the industry can witness the advancing technologies and knowledge without waiting for two years to see the latest trends.”
Expressing that the demand to partake in the event was beyond expectation, a number of product developers and stall holders had to be turned down as well, he said.
The importance of such a show was reiterated by Tourist Hotel Association Sri Lanka (THASL) President Jayantissa Kehelpannala who was the Chief Guest of the event.
“The tourism industry has been emphasised as a thrust industry by President Mahinda Rajapaksa placing before us a vision or target of 2.5 million tourists by 2016,” Kehelpannala said. “From small beginnings, the Hotel Show has gathered momentum over the years and covers the key areas of HR training and expansion of hotel rooms which are vital for the development of the industry.”
The event aims to play a pivotal role in offering education, professional advancement, trade and innovation by presenting a wide range of innovative modern products covering all areas such as catering, equipment, housekeeping, decor, linen, maintenance, lifestyle brands, uniforms, outdoor gear, ceramics and many more. It is expected that a large number of hotel and resort owners, IT managers, hotel development executives, F&B managers, chefs, purchasing/procurement managers, bakery owners and professionals, hotel project consultants, business development managers, dealers and suppliers as well as tourism industry professionals will patronise the event.
The show will also feature a street food carnival with the participation of six hotels which include Hilton, Cinnamon Grand, Water’s Edge, Taj Samudra, along with one other restaurant. This will be held on all three days as well.
The Bocuse d’Or championship will be held in the lobby area of Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Hall even though the gala dinner and awards ceremony is to be held at Water’s Edge. 19 teams have come forward to participate in this competition which is organised by Bocuse d’Or President Chef. Rohan Fernando.
Even though it is the first time the event is being held in conjunction to the Hotel Show, it is the second time the competition is being held in Colombo. It seeks to provide local culinary specialists and chefs in the island a platform to showcase their inherent talent and skill in their specialised fields of expertise. The competition is judged by a set of highly acclaimed individuals which includes internationally renowned past Bocuse d’Or winner Jens Peter Kolbeck, Publishing Editor of Food Companion International Mel Nathan and Catalan three star Michelin Restaurant Consultant R&D Manager and wine maker Leonardo Ricci among others. Pix by Kithsiri de Mel