Year of Food 2016 Kick Starts With Tourism Workshop

Tourism NI attracted over 100 tourism representatives at a recent event held at Belfast’s Stormont Hotel to kick off Northern Ireland’s Year of Food initiative for 2016.

The initiative is being developed by Tourism NI to build on Northern Ireland’s growing reputation for food excellence and entice even more visitors to get a taste of Northern Ireland.

Tourism NI organised the workshop as part of a programme of pre-development activity in the run up to 2016.  It was designed to brief and engage the tourism, hospitality and food industries in the early stages of planning and outlined the aspirations for the Year of Food as well as taking in lessons learned from Visit Scotland.

Reflecting its importance, a wide range of different food industry partners attended, including Food NI, the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, Pubs of Ulster and the Agri-Food Strategy Board.

Farmers, media, tourism industry, food and drink industry, and local authority representatives were also present.

Addressing the delegates, Terence Brannigan, Chairman Tourism NI, said: “Tourists spend over £350 million per year on Northern Ireland food and drink and I believe there is significant room for further growth.  We have some of the best produce, the best chefs and the best restaurants in the world and the potential this has when it comes to tourism cannot be underestimated.

I am delighted that through this workshop and future related programmes of activity in the development of this initiative, we can work together to position Northern Ireland as a great food tourism destination.  Today’s event is the start of great things to come.”

The workshop established an advisory group to champion the project, gain private sector support including corporate sponsorship and co-ordinate activity across local authorities.

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