Initiative to boost Northern Ireland’s food & drink reputation

Initiative to boost Northern Ireland’s food & drink reputation
Tracey Coughlan, Chef Paula McIntyre, Tourism Ireland's Louise Finnegan and Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen (credit: Darren Kidd / Press Eye)

A new initiative has been launched to enhance the reputation of food and drink in Northern Ireland and to boost the nation’s tourism economy.

The three-year ‘Taste the Island’ initiative has been jointly developed by Tourism NI, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

It will comprise a series of special events taking place through September to November to celebration the nation’s food and drink produce.

It aims to build on the highly successful ‘Year of Food and Drink’ campaign in 2016 which saw an increase in demand for local produce in international markets and resulted in Northern Ireland being named an award-winning food destination.

The latest research estimates visitor expenditure at £968 million of which approximately one third (£350 million) is spent on food and drink.

“Food and drink accounts for 30% of the total visitor spend here. Internationally, our reputation for great food and drink is growing as demonstrated by the global Best Food Destination award in 2018,” said John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI.

“Research tells us that our visitors position food and drink as one of the top five factors when choosing a destination and they value local produce highly. We have been working with our industry partners to bring our food story to the world.

“Taste the Island will celebrate the quality, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship within our industry and offer a compelling programme of authentic food and drink experiences to motivate visitors to travel to Northern Ireland.”