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Food Connect Conference to Explore Potential for Food Tourism in Ireland

More than four in five food travellers are satisfied with Ireland’s food offering – this is just one of a number of insights that tourism businesses across the country will hear at Fáilte Ireland‘s first dedicated food tourism conference, Food Connect, which takes place in Tankardstown House, Co. Meath next Monday and Tuesday, 12-13th September.

Among the research due to be discussed at the conference are the results of the World Food Travel Association 2016 Food Travel Monitor which shows that 77% of holidaymakers were satisfied or very satisfied with Ireland’s food offering. This satisfaction rating increased to 83% amongst “food travellers”, whose prime motivations for selecting a destination are food and drink related activities.

Developed in partnership with Fáilte Ireland the newly published research examines the perceptions of over 2,500 travellers in ten countries including Ireland. The research also showed that food is now an essential part of the overall visitor experience with 93% of those surveyed reported participating in a food activity on a recent trip. This tells us that the pursuit of a unique and memorable experience is on the rise. While 66% of holidaymakers rated food as important in their overall experience of Ireland this increased to almost one in four (78%) amongst food travellers.

Tankardstown House

Furthermore, over half of the holidaymakers questioned agreed that food experiences are now more important than they were five years ago when they travel. Following that trend, half of holidaymakers considered Ireland’s food experiences as memorable, while this increased to almost 60% amongst food travellers.

The research also identified the top five most desirable food experiences for holidaymakers to Ireland to be:

Visiting a local producer/processor (E.g. farm, smokehouse or oyster farm)

– Visiting a whiskey distillery or micro-brewery

– Going on an urban walking food tours

– Attending a food festival or food related event

– Following a food trail

Speaking about the research and in advance of the ‘Food Connect’ Conference, Head of Food and Hospitality for Fáilte Ireland, John Mulcahy emphasised:

“It’s clear that Ireland has a lot to offer when it comes to food. There is quality produce on the ground and a great many experiences on offer for visitors when they come here. However, what is also clear from the research is that while people are pleasantly surprised by our food offering once they get here, perceptions beforehand may be lagging.

“Our ‘Food Connect’ event is designed to tackle this very issue and the insights shared on how leading destinations position themselves in the marketplace will ensure that we as an industry can build on what we have so that it whets the appetite of potential visitors for many years to come.”

‘Food Connect’ is a new two day conference organised by the tourism development authority where food tourism businesses can explore the world of food tourism, hear the latest research, learn new food tourism trends, gain insights from international experts and take in mouth-watering food showcases. Attendees will hear from a range of international food experts, many of whom are arriving in Ireland this weekend for bespoke itineraries showcasing Ireland’s food experiences.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Founder of the World Food Travel Association Erik Wolf explained:

“Ireland has tremendous potential to promote its food and beverage resources to visitors. Many destinations have stunning landscapes, history and cultural activities, but an area’s cuisine can be a unique lure. Visitors only need to experience the quality of Irish products to be hooked. Foodies are always looking for the ‘next big thing’. Given the chance, Ireland could indeed be the next big destination for foodies in the know.”

Ireland to feature on Food Documentary

Meanwhile, amongst those arriving into Ireland this weekend for ‘Food Connect’ are world renowned filmmakers Daniel Klien and Mirra Fine who, aside from speaking at ‘Food Connect’, will feature Ireland’s Food Story on their award winning food documentary series The Perennial Plate. Over the next 8 weeks Daniel and Mirra, whose films have amassed more than 10 million views online, will dig deep into the local food cultures of Ireland as they document the food and cultural landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East, the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin for season four of their food travel series.

During their time in Ireland The Perennial Plate will create 10 films which will include local vignettes highlighting stories of local producers, as well as cooking videos, animated histories and a visual montage of Ireland.

Speaking ahead of their arrival, Daniel and Mirra explained why Ireland is the perfect destination for The Perennial Plate –

“Food, people and stories are why we travel, and film is the perfect way to share culture and inspire others to partake in the adventure. With its stunning greenery, rich history, world renowned chefs and natural beauty, Ireland is the perfect backdrop for our documentary series.”

To keep up to date with the event follow Fáilte Ireland on Twitter @Fáilte_Ireland.

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