11 October 2017
By Mary Bermingham
Fáilte Ireland, is today rolling out a new food innovation programme ‘Taste of Place’ for Ireland’s Ancient East Visitor Attractions to improve and enhance the food and drink on offer. Among the attractions availing of this programme is Cork’s Midleton Experience (Jameson Whiskey). In 2016, almost six million overseas tourists visited sites of historical or cultural interest in Ireland which include museums, national parks, and interpretive centres.
The programme aims to support catering teams at high density attractions in delivering an authentic and quality food and beverage experience that is rooted in place by:
- Introducing more menu options that reflect the culinary traditions of a local area.
- Sourcing ingredients from local Irish suppliers.
- Linking elements of the food offering to the wider destination brands.
Participating attractions (Jameson Experience; Wicklow Gaol; Hook Lighthouse; Bru Na Boinne; House of Waterford Crystal; and Newbridge Silverware) who commit to the changes outlined in the charter will complete an intensive three day programme with cookery demonstrations from reknowned local chef Paul Flynn, in the Tannery Cookery School, Waterford.
The three-day workshops (October 10, 11 & 12) will include an introduction to how food motivates the tourist with participants discovering the latest tourist trends and culinary concepts together with best practice examples of where local authentic food offerings drive revenue growth in business and enhance value perception. They will also get a variety of cookery demonstrations and take part in working sessions to inspire change and deliver a renewed food and beverage offering.
There is a growing trend, at home and internationally, of tourists seeking out locally sourced dishes and the stories behind them. This growing interest in experiencing local food presents an ideal opportunity for visitor attractions to create and deliver authentic food experiences that are reflective of the area. This new programme has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, to ensure that visitors to Ireland get a real taste of place.
Sinead Hennessy, Food Tourism Officer with Fáilte Ireland commented:
“International visitors are placing greater emphasis than ever before on food when it comes to their overall holiday experience and since most food types can be experienced globally, there is a unique value attached to experiencing them in their authentic place. With visitors to Ireland spending some €2.2 billion on food every year, it is our job as the tourism industry, to ensure we put our best foot forward when it comes to giving them the experiences they want.
From the tourist’s perspective, the food and beverage offered at visitor attractions is a core part of the entire experience and should be viewed as a critical revenue driver and not ancillary to the visit. This new ‘Taste of Place’ charter is the first step in ensuring that visitor’s to Ireland’s Ancient East attractions in Meath encounter an enhanced offering that is reflective of Ireland’s growing food reputation.”
Food and beverages are integral to the overall tourism experience in Ireland and Fáilte Ireland research shows that 80% of visitors believe it is an important part of their visit and has a significant impact on their overall satisfaction levels in a destination.
Paul Carty, Guinness Storehouse and chairman of AVEA commented:
“As chairman of AVEA – The Association of Visitor Experience & Attractions – I welcome and laud this important food initiative for our sector. Globally food tourism is increasing and Ireland is well positioned to take advantage of our high quality food production. This innovative programme gives people the opportunity to experience local produce as part of the stories our members deliver, greatly enhancing the overall experience as well as contributing to increased revenue growth.”