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MAY 2019
Rural Life
MAY 2019
Ireland exports 90 per cent of the food and beverages that we produce on the island. Valued at
12bn in 2018, Irish food and drink exports are in high demand globally. Now, Ireland's tourism
industry is hoping to capitalise on that high-quality output. Fáilte Ireland is calling on businesses and
individuals interested in providing food or drink experiences to tourists to participate in a series of
workshops that will help raise the profile of Ireland's food and drink experience for domestic and
international tourists
Between September and November 2019, Fáilte Ireland
will roll out a celebration of Irish food and drink culture
called Taste the Island. The new initiative intends
providing visitors with access to authentic food and drink
experiences, high quality local ingredients and world-class
Irish food and drink produce. The extensive programme,
running over three months will seek to create an
awareness and renewed appreciation at home and abroad
of the strength and richness of Ireland's cuisine today.
Changing perceptions
According to recent research from Fáilte Ireland, visitors
to Ireland arrive with very low expectations of our food
experience. Encouragingly, however, the research shows
that 83 per cent of these visitors are pleasantly surprised
by the food experience that they have when they are here.
Tracey Coughlan, Fáilte Ireland's food strategy
manager says: "We have a tremendous base to build on
when you consider our export story. So, the fact that our
potential international visitors don't know about the
quality that they can experience here yet, or there is a
perception issue there, we are going to really work hard to
change that. We are going to work with the industry, use
this Taste the Island initiative to push out a message that
Ireland has some of the best food and drink experiences
in the world."
Between May and June 2018, Fáilte Ireland will run 18
workshops across the country, from Donegal to Dingle
and everywhere in between. The aim of these workshops
is to help local individuals and businesses help change
that perception and participate in the 10-week Taste the
Island celebration. Tracey notes that the workshop will
take into consideration the regional and local assets. "It
is important that we talk about the taste of place and
contextualise the workshops in the region, some countries
are very good at seasonality and regionality, we have
improved a lot over the last few years."
Creative opportunities
The workshops will look at the opportunities under
five pillars: taste of place; networks and trails; make it
yourself; agri-tourism; and festivals and events. Tracey
explains that taste of place will focus on topics such
as seasonality, regionality and local, provenance. The
networks and trails pillar will explore ways to leverage
and enhance Ireland's landscape or attractions with food
or beverage experience. Meanwhile, Tracey sees huge
potential to appeal to families through make it yourself
experiences such as cookery schools and creative events
that really engage with customers. "If you look at some
of the great food nations around the world, their children
really appreciate good food. From the time they can eat
Taste the Island