|Levant hospitality forum grows with region (Daily Star)
|The largest hospitality and food forum in the Levant, Horeca 2004, will be held for the 11th consecutive year at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center from April 27-30. The event will gather professionals from the restaurant and hotel sectors, allowing them to introduce their latest product innovations while exploring new partnership opportunities.
"The tourism industry is growing in the entire region, so this is a critical event. It is not just an exhibition but a meeting point - a network - for the entire region," said the event's founder, Joumana Salame.
In but one sign of the event's importance, more than 17,600 trade professionals from 47 countries attended last year's forum. This year, organizers expect similar numbers, as well as a 20 percent increase in the number of exhibitions from hotels, nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, supermarkets and many other major establishments that make up the event's primary audience.
The exhibition forum itself is divided into two halls, with the first one featuring the Trade Show for the Hospitality and Foodservice industry - featuring the latest in design, furnishing and fixtures - and the second featuring the International Food and Beverage Exhibition, with the latest products for the retail and catering sectors.
There will also be a food competition that will see the Lebanese National Team's participation. "More than 200 Lebanese and international chefs will compete in 26 different categories, and will be awarded prizes by an international panel of well-known judges from Europe," said Salame.
In addition to many other regional players, Cypriot interests are also poised to actively participate in Horeca this year. They will especially be looking forward to welcoming all importers, distributors and wholesalers of food items and consumable products from Lebanon and the Middle East.
A separate part of the event will host three NGOs that are working on the development of the olive oil sector in Lebanon, namely the Stanford Research Institute, Instituto Cooperazione Universitaria and the Rene Mouawad Foundation. All three are aimed squarely at promoting the Lebanese olive oil industry and creating awareness of its quality standards.
Horeca 2004 will be held under the patronage of President Emile Lahoud and will be supported by the Syndicate of Lebanese Hotels owners, the Syndicate of Lebanese Restaurants, Cafes, Pastry Shops and Night Club owners, the Syndicate of Lebanese Food Industries, the Syndicate of Lebanese Supermarkets and the Association of Lebanese Industrialists.
Maya Abou Nasr
The Daily Star