The twelfth Hotel Asia Exhibition, the largest trade fair in the Maldives, commenced Monday at Dharubaaruge convention centre in capital Male.
The two day exhibition, organised by Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services, was inaugurated by tourism minister Moosa Zameer. This year’s fair features total 175 participants, both local and international.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the minister stressed the significance of the fair, saying, “The tourism industry of the Maldives is known as one of the top destinations in the world. Thus, we are in need of innovations and technology to advance this industry.”
Minister Zameer declared that international activities such as the Culinary Challenge held alongside the exhibition will highly promote the Maldives to the outside world.
“The tourism industry is evolving greatly and the government is working to expand this industry, opening more resorts every year according to [the government’s] electoral pledge.”
Noting the increasing number of jobs created with more resorts, the minister expressed hopes to initiate skilled youth to the tourism sector.
In addition to the renowned International Culinary Challenge, Hotel Asia also features special seminars, international entities for discussion and exchange of ideas, and a panel of trade industry veterans.
Innovations introduced in this year’s fair include materials for resort suites, appliances for laundry, air conditioning and catering, as well as gardening tools, furniture, waste disposal machines and state-of-the-art security systems.
Meanwhile, the International Culinary Challenge this year features around 500 contenders from 75 companies.
“The main objective of a challenge to show off culinary skills is to form connections with food and beverage suppliers for the industry. The main point of this fair is also that, to connect the industry with material suppliers,” said Asim Mukhtar, the CEO of Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services.
The CEO’s words were seconded by representatives of foreign stalls at the fair. A delegate of a Malaysian supplier of fruits and vegetables, and another of a Sri Lankan food supplier both highlighted that Hotel Asia Exhibition has served as a platform for the firms to reach out to more customers and widen their markets.