12 March 2015
By Tom Collins
The search has begun to find the region in Ireland which has best used its local food potential to grow visitor numbers. Fáilte Ireland, is inviting entries for the EDEN competition, an EU project promoting sustainable tourism development models across the European Union, which is currently being held in 29 member states.
Held every two years, EDEN focusses on a different aspect of tourism each time and this year’s theme is Tourism and Local Gastronomy with the winning destination to receive a promotional photo shoot to market itself as well as €5,000 towards highlighting its attractions. The winning entry will also represent Ireland at a ceremony/exhibition in Brussels later this year.
Fáilte Ireland are now looking for Emerging tourism destinations in Ireland who have developed a specific tourism offering based on their local gastronomy that balances sustaining the local environment with the promotion of viable tourism.
Eligible destinations will be those that are:
- “off the beaten track”
With visitor numbers from low to very low in comparison with the national average they should offer authentic Tourism experiences that have a well-developed gastronomy that is characteristic of the region.
The aim of the EDEN project is to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where economic growth is pursued in such a way as to ensure the social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism.
Commenting on the competition, John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Hospitality, said:
“As an Island, Ireland has long been recognised for the beauty of its landscape and seascapes in addition for the warmth of its people. But in recent years, visitors are now coming for our food and drink offering also. Our clean seas and rich fertile soil result in having the best raw ingredients that are of critical importance to Ireland’s attractiveness to our tourists.
“Throughout Ireland, the growth of food activities and attractions has regenerated local economies and communities. Therefore, I would encourage participation in initiatives, such as this European Destination of Excellence Competition, which can only but boost the profile of these destinations further.”
Full competition details are available at www.failteireland.ie or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting the local regional tourism office. The closing date for entries is Wednesday April 8th 2015.
Eligible destinations will be those where the visitor density is low; where the tourism product has been developed using local and regional food experiences as an asset while protecting the environment and meeting the needs of visitors and local residents; and where the tourism offer is managed in such a way as to ensure its social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
Fáilte Ireland is appointing a panel of adjudicators to select the top destinations and the overall winner. The evaluation process will short-list the top three applications for on-site assessments during the week of Monday 11th May. This assessment will allow each applicant an opportunity to provide further evidence of their Tourism and Local Gastronomy destination of excellence.