Czech Restaurants Rally for State Support to Secure Inclusion in Michelin Guide

A group of restaurants in the Czech Republic has launched a campaign, gathering signatures for an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the government, urging the state to pay a fee to Michelin for the country’s inclusion in the prestigious Michelin gastronomic guide. Prominent figures in the Czech gastronomy industry, including Zdenek Pohlreich, Jan Punchocar, and Jan Knedly, are supporting this action, according to VisitChef, an online industry magazine.

Michelin is reportedly demanding a fee of ten million Czech crowns for a three-year period, as reported by Seznam Zpravy in January. The decision to release funds lies with the Ministry of Local Development (MMR). The authors of the letter are calling upon the prime minister and other government members to appeal to the Minister of Local Development, Ivan Bartos, to pay the fee or have it covered by the Czech Tourism Central.

The signatories argue that inclusion in the Michelin guide supports gastronomic tourism, provides marketing support for the Czech Republic globally, and has the potential to attract tourists to the region. They emphasize that gastronomic tourism is a crucial segment that has not been fully exploited in the country, despite the significant improvement in gastronomic quality over the past five years.

The tax revenue generated by the inclusion in the Michelin guide is expected to surpass the contribution paid. The campaign aims to collect 10,000 signatures by July 9th, with signature sheets available on the VisitChef website and in selected Prague restaurants.

Supporters of the initiative, such as Chef Zdenek Pohlreich, express confusion over the involvement of the minister’s office in the matter and question the need for extensive activities surrounding the Michelin guide. Pohlreich believes that the state should support the gastronomic sector due to its substantial contribution to the state budget on a daily basis.

Last year, Michelin changed its guide’s concept and restricted evaluations to countries whose national tourist agencies provide financial contributions. The Ministry of Local Development announced in March that a decision regarding the fee would be made in the following weeks, but no decision has been reached thus far.

The Michelin Guide carries significant weight in the culinary world, and inclusion is highly coveted by restaurants worldwide. For the Czech Republic, securing a place in the guide would enhance its reputation as a gastronomic destination and positively impact its tourism industry.

Article by Prague Forum

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