In an unique interview with Imran Hassan, Managing Director of CDC Occasions and Travels Pvt Ltd, Hotelier Maldives will get a behind the scenes look into Meals and Hospitality Asia Maldives’ (FHAM) historical past, operational challenges and what to look ahead to at this years exhibition.
HM: Inform us a bit bit about your background?
IH: I’m initially from Colombo in Sri Lanka and have been based mostly in and round that space all my life. My profession started in gross sales and advertising and marketing, which led me into the exhibition business in 1998, so I’ve been concerned in organising commerce festivals for 25 years. I’ve organised over 250 worldwide commerce festivals in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Seychelles. I’m the president of the Sri Lanka Affiliation of Skilled Convention Exhibition and Occasion Organisers and a board member of The Sri Lanka Conference Bureau.
HM: What took you into the sphere of occasions and becoming a member of CDC?
IH: I joined CDC conventions in 1998. One of many first occasions I used to be concerned in was the inception of the Lodge Present, one thing I’m nonetheless concerned with immediately. With CDC, in 2000, I headed the workforce that organised the primary worldwide commerce truthful within the Maldives. It was held at Dharubaaruge. I bear in mind drawing up all the ground plans for the exhibition house and spearheading the advertising and marketing of it. I used to be with CDC till 2003, once I fashioned Lanka Exhibition Companies and Maldives Exhibition Companies.
Organising and conceptualising occasions is an immersive and inventive course of that requires the appropriate folks and assist. In 2013, I created CDC Occasions and Travels Pvt Ltd which has grown to turn out to be one of the vital skilled MICE Tourism specialists in South Asia.
HM: You have got been instrumental in FHAM since its inception. How did it begin and the way has it developed?
IH: In creating CDC Occasions and Travels Pvt Ltd we successfully broke away from the opposite well-established exhibition. Thus, we created Meals and Hospitality Asia Maldives (FHAM) with Dhivehi Expo Companies, who’re the precise proudly owning firm of FHAM.
The primary few years had been tough as we carved out our personal id inside the market. Nonetheless, we had nice assist from Lily Worldwide and Nestle, who’ve been our essential sponsors because the starting in 2014.
FHAM additionally supplied a catalyst for a number of optimistic developments within the Maldives culinary business. In October 2014, we had been concerned with the formation of the Cooks Guild of Maldives beneath the management of Mariyam Noordeen. Collectively, we ready the Cooks Guild to affix the World Affiliation of Cooks Societies. That is one thing we’re extraordinarily proud to have been a part of and it helped set up the culinary competitors at FHAM. Over the previous couple of years, FHAM has discovered its area of interest and is now well-known amongst the Hospitality Trade within the Maldives.
Featured Picture: Imran Hassan at FHAM with key stakeholders
HM: What makes the FHAM distinctive?
IH: FHAM is exclusive in a lot of methods:
- It focuses on the entire hospitality business versus simply the F&B phase.
- It’s the solely occasion supported by two Nationwide Cooks Guilds, the Cooks Guild of Maldives and the Cooks Guild of Sri Lanka.
- It was the primary World Cooks endorsed occasion within the Maldives.
- This 12 months we’ve got groups from 9 nationwide Chef Guilds, participating within the International Culinary Competitors, making it the one Worldwide occasion within the South Asian Area.
HM: FHAM is in central park once more this 12 months, versus Dharubaaruge. What made you determine to make use of the park?
IH: A number of causes, although it might truly be cheaper to do it at Dharubaaruge! Final 12 months was the primary time within the park and the benefit of entry meant we attracted a variety of guests, particularly from resorts as they might get a taxi or bus instantly from the airport or come instantly by ferry and never have to navigate the congested streets of Malé. Through the years, Dharubaaruge has turn out to be run down. As well as, it wasn’t accessible with the upcoming elections.
HM: The park has limitations when it comes to amenities similar to water, bathroom, ect. How have you ever overcome the restrictions?
IH: It definitely presents challenges! We should construct all the pieces from scratch, which is a mammoth endeavor and dear. This 12 months we’ve got prolonged the dimensions of the marquee space and are bringing extra air-con items, together with some cellular bogs. We’re importing the bogs, so we are going to go away them as a present to HDC for use at future occasions.
HM: A key attraction of the exhibition is the culinary, barrister and housekeeping competitions. Are you able to inform us a bit about every of them and the inspiration behind their inclusion?
IH: The culinary competitors has been a part of the occasion because the starting and one thing Nestle was eager to incorporate as they’re energetic in culinary competitions globally. This 12 months we’re going world as we’ve got groups collaborating from Saudi Arabia, India, UAE, Bahrain, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives and Vietnam.
The Barista Competitors was launched in 2017 to supply a platform for F&B to showcase their skills. In 2012, we added it to the Sri Lanka Lodge Present. As a result of competitors’s reputation and Maldives’ booming espresso tradition, it was pure to incorporate it in FHAM too. The competitors targets each espresso home and resort baristas. It follows the worldwide barista championship requirements, so it’s judged by each Sensory and Technical internationally licensed Judges.
The Mocktail Competitors was launched in 2019. It targets the F&B division of Inns and Visitor homes, though impartial cafes and eating places can take part too. It’s officiated by deliberately certified Judges and IBA
The Housekeeping Competitors was launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Maldives Housekeepers affiliation to focus on the significance of the housekeeping phase inside the business. The competitors has developed to turn out to be a mattress ornament competitors the place groups of two can showcase their creative skills.
HM: What number of lessons might be held throughout the three-day occasion?
IH: We’ve got a busy schedule and over 450 entries from over 40 resorts, plus the entries from these representing the worldwide Cooks Guilds. There may be:
- 21 Courses within the International Culinary Competitors which is able to run all through every day from 9am
- 1 Mocktail Competitors and 1 Barista Competitors, which might be held over consecutive days
- 1 Housekeeping Competitors
- 1 child’s Culinary Competitors
HM: How have you ever supplied competitors type kitchens in a tent?
IH: This 12 months we’ve got a separate marquee because the competitors space, which is break up into sections, permitting a devoted AC space to decorate the cake and fruit carving. There’s a separate sizzling kitchen space with house for 20 competitors work stations. We’ve got additionally elevated the variety of ovens accessible.
HM: The culinary competitors is endorsed by WACS, so how do you choose the appropriate calibre of judges to adjust to the standards?
IH: To conduct a continental World Cooks competitors, you have to have a minimal of two “A” grade judges. This 12 months we’ve got 4. The Chief Choose would be the Vice President of World Affiliation of Cooks Societies, Chef Uwe (Michel Uwe). We’ve got over 15 worldwide Judges, together with presidents from eight Chef Guilds. These judges might be supported by Maldivian World Cooks licensed judges. This 12 months, we appointed Ishag Solih because the Culinary Director. Chef Ishag is a World Cooks licensed decide, a key member of the Cooks Guild and a well-renowned chef who has at all times been actively concerned with FHAM culinary competitors.
HM: Is the FHAM providing something new this 12 months?
IH: Having entries from a number of nationwide Cooks Guilds is new this 12 months. We’ve got additionally included a child’s competitors and have a devoted pavilion of exhibitors from India.
Featured Picture: Imran Hassan giving President Ibrahim Solih a tour of FHAM 2022
HM: Who ought to go to the FHAM and what can they count on?
IH: FHAM is for everybody within the hospitality business. Homeowners, administration and employees of accommodations, resorts, visitor homes, and eating places will discover one thing of curiosity. It’s a nice networking alternative for anybody who’s excited about establishing or stepping into the hospitality business. The competitions are a chance to attach and study from others inside their subject.
HM: Any closing feedback?
IH: FHAM and different exhibitions carry a variety of enterprise into the central Malé space. The exhibition is predicted to herald a minimum of 500 mattress nights from the exhibition workforce judges, worldwide exhibitors, groups and supporters. For my part, it’s time the Maldives invested in a devoted convention and exhibition house as it might entice the ever-growing MICE business (Conferences, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) and supply one other marketplace for tourism suppliers.