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Maximum govt support to promote Lanka’s culinary art – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the chefs event in BMICH
President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the chefs event in BMICH

Sri Lanka’s unique culinary art has attracted tourists from all over the world and maximum government support will be extended to its promotion and the country can’t develop the tourist industry without developing its human resources and it is not productive to be giving tax incentives for hotels if they haven’t got the manpower for kitchens, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the opening ceremony of the Culinary Art Food Expo (CAFÉ) on Friday at BMICH.

“We have a large number of human resources leaving the country because it is far more attractive elsewhere. We have at least got to match Maldives in the remuneration. Otherwise you can’t run a tourist industry. That can only be done if we are prepared to increase the rate. But to do that we must give a good service. There are many aspects; But remember, one that is common to all is cuisine. The tourists are coming here because they are also interested in cuisine.”

The President said that it is the aim of the Government to maximize the contribution of tourism in order to achieve the development goals of the country.

The growth policy of the Government includes doubling tourism, and in the first stage the number is expected to go up to 5 million. Secondly, increase the revenue per tourist, which means we have to now go for high end tourists.

“In the next two months the government will announce new policies and the industry will be surprised at what changes we are going to make.”

The President said that the private sector too should get more involved in hospitality training to develop young talent who can one day become good chefs. The President also ensured that the government will certainly help different hotels and associations to expand their number.

“We will also help by starting one or two schools, specifically for cuisine and culinary work. I think we can have one in Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela, Ella and Dambulla. We can also help to ensure getting experienced chefs from abroad for training. I think we should have some system of grading our chefs as well.”

Chef Gerard Mendis, Chairman, Chefs Guild of Lanka said that since 2019, the industry was facing several issues and the tourism sector was the hardest hit.

“But now I agree 100% that we have come from it much faster than we ever thought we would. We have to thank the President and supportive government that made it happen.

There were many businesses that had to close down, but you can see many of them also opening.”

Chef Thomas Gugler, President, World Association of Chefs Societies, Shiran Peiris, Managing Director, Asriel Marketing, Duminda Kotalawala, General Manager, C W Mackie, Anuruddha Aluvihara, Country Head, Upfield Lanka Sales and David Ablet also participated.

Monday, June 12, 2023 – 01:00

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