Several restaurants in the Czech Republic are collecting signatures for an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the entire government, urging the state to pay the Michelin company a fee for inclusion in the prestigious Michelin gastronomic guide. The action is supported by top Czech gastro business leaders, including Zdenek Pohlreich, Jan Punchocar, and Jan Knedly, according to the industry online magazine VisitChef.
The company is demanding ten million Czech crowns for three years, according to Seznam Zpravy in January. The Ministry of Local Development (MMR) will decide on the release of funds. The letter’s authors ask the prime minister and other government members to appeal to the Minister of Local Development, Ivan Bartos (Pirates), to pay the fee or have it paid by the Czech Tourism Central.
According to them, the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the Michelin guide supports gastro tourism, is a marketing support for the Czech Republic worldwide, and has the potential to bring tourists to the region.
“Gastro tourism is a significantly important segment of tourism, whose potential is not sufficiently utilized in the Czech Republic, especially given the development of gastronomy quality in the last five years,” the letter reads.
The tax revenue will be significantly higher than the contribution. They aim to collect 10,000 signatures by Sunday, July 9th, and signature sheets are available on the VisitChef website (the full text of the letter is also available) and in some Prague restaurants.
“I don’t understand why the minister’s office should even be involved in such a thing and why there are so many activities around the Michelin guide, why it had to go so far,” said Chef Zdenek Pohlreich, who supports the idea that the state should support the gastronomic sector in this way. “The contribution of gastronomy to the state budget is enormous daily,” he added.
Michelin changed the concept of its guide last year and only evaluated restaurants in countries whose national tourist agencies contribute. MMR said in March that a decision on paying the fee should be made in the coming weeks, but this has not yet happened.
The Michelin star was awarded 15 years ago to the Prague restaurant Allegro in the Four Seasons Hotel, the first gastronomic establishment in post-communist countries. Two years ago, the Prague restaurants Field and La Degustation Bohême Bourgeois each retained one star. Michelin did not issue recommendations for the Czech Republic last year.
The Importance of the Michelin Guide in Czech Gastronomy
The Michelin Guide is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious culinary guides in the world. It is renowned for its strict selection criteria and contribution to promoting gastronomy in the countries it covers. Therefore, it is no surprise that many Czech restaurants are rallying to support the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the Michelin Guide.
Gastro tourism is a significant tourism segment, and its potential is not yet fully utilized in the Czech Republic. Including the country in the Michelin Guide can help increase its visibility as a gastronomic destination and attract more tourists to the region.
The demand for ten million Czech crowns for three years may seem steep. Still, the tax revenue generated by including Czech restaurants in the guide will be significantly higher than the contribution. The Czech government should consider supporting the gastronomic sector in this way, as it significantly contributes to the state budget daily.
The Czech restaurants rallying to support the country’s inclusion in the Michelin Guide include some of the top names in the Czech gastro business. Their support for the initiative highlights the importance of the guide in promoting Czech gastronomy and the potential benefits for the country’s economy.
The Michelin Guide changed its concept last year and only evaluated restaurants in countries whose national tourist agencies contribute. Therefore, the Czech Republic must pay the fee to ensure its inclusion in the guide and the promotion of its gastronomy worldwide.