Are You Ready For The Year of Food Tourism?
By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 8 October, 2015
In May this year, our Enterprise Minister announced a major tourism drive to give our visitors to Northern Ireland a fresh appetite to visit our beautiful region. Eleanor McGillie looks ahead to Northern Ireland’s Year of Food Tourism
Arlene Foster announced 2016 as the Year of Food Tourism in our beautiful region. The reason for this is? Well, we have a reputation for loving our food, for being seriously hospitable and, let’s cut to the chase, food tourism is already generating over £350million so there are a lot of economic benefits for our region.
So, 2016 is the official year of Food Tourism in Northern Ireland and liveitexperienceit.com is here to help businesses tell their story and reach out to wider audiences.
So when Arlene Foster announced the initiative, we were seriously enthused to hear that such a huge emphasis was going to be placed on our food, how we grow it, how we serve it and what it tastes like.
There are a lot of stories to come out of food.
There are a lot of independent businesses who could do very well out of this.
But you have to tell your story.
Speaking at the tourism conference this year, Arlene Foster said: “The potential this has when it comes to tourism cannot be underestimated. Food tourism already generates over £350million per year to the local economy, but I believe there is significant room for further growth. That’s why I have asked Tourism Northern Ireland to begin preparatory work to develop the Year of Food initiative and have secured funding to allow them to do so.
“We know how good our food is, which is probably why we enjoy eating out so much. The recent Barclaycard report showing Northern Ireland people spend more on eating out than the rest of the UK is proof of that. Now it’s time to build on our growing reputation for excellence and give visitors even more mouth watering reasons to come here.”
So if you are a business in the food and drink sector – there are huge benefits for you. But how can you draw visitors to you?
- Start telling people your story
- Develop a plan of action
- Go to the masterclasses and mentoring programmes hosted by Tourism NI
- Become a Live It Experience It member
- Can you become part of a food trail?
- What experience can you contribute?
- How can you enhance your offering to improve the visitor experience?
It’s important for businesses to plan ahead, make sure they have a strong digital presence, ensure they tell their story, be in a strong position to attract visitors and make the most out of this fantastic initiative.
Live It Experience It’ is a cluster of tourism businesses working together to promote our region through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. If you would like to become a member business in our ‘Live It Experience It’ cluster please submit your information through our online form. Pitch your business and meet like minded tourism businesses who you could cluster with. #liveitexperienceit