The Czech government has announced plans to invest over 51 million Czech koruna (approximately USD 2.3 million) in the Michelin guide over the next five years. The move is designed to boost the country’s international prestige in the field of gastronomy and to attract wealthy foreign tourists.
According to the Ministry of Regional Development, the Michelin guide will identify 30 interesting restaurants outside Prague, with at least one in each region. In total, 27 restaurants are expected to receive recognition from the guide within five years, with five receiving a Michelin star. The government hopes this investment will help promote the country as a luxury travel destination.
While some critics have questioned the wisdom of such an investment, the Ministry of Regional Development has highlighted the project’s potential economic benefits. The ministry warns that failure to collaborate with Michelin could lead to a loss of international prestige in gastronomy and a decrease in the country’s attractiveness to high-end international clients.
The Michelin Guide is a prestigious international gastronomic guide that awards stars to restaurants based on the quality of their food, service, and overall experience. In addition to stars, the guide also awards Bib Gourmand and Michelin Selection distinctions.
The Ministry of Regional Development expects to pay 4.3 million Czech koruna (approximately USD 195,000) for the analysis and inspection of restaurants. The marketing campaign will cost an additional nine million Czech koruna (approximately USD 408,000) annually for the next five years, with funding from the state budget and the regions.
The decision to invest in the Michelin Guide has not been without controversy. Economist Lukáš Kovanda has suggested that restaurant owners pay for their entry into the guide through a fund or foundation. The Ministry of Regional Development has rejected this proposal, arguing that public institutions and national tourism centers traditionally finance the guide.
The Michelin guide has a significant impact on the fortunes of restaurants. According to MMR analysis, a single star can increase a restaurant’s turnover by 50% in the first year, with a second star leading to an additional 20% increase and a third star leading to a 25% increase. Michelin is widely trusted by tourists, with 84% of tourists reportedly trusting the guide’s recommendations in a 2019 Ernst & Young study.
While the Czech Republic currently has only two restaurants with Michelin stars – La Degustation Boheme and Field, both in Prague – the government hopes this investment will increase recognition for Czech restaurants. By promoting the country as a destination for luxury travel, the government hopes to attract more high-end international clients and boost the country’s economic development.