30 June 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Taste the Island – a celebration of Ireland’s food and drink
“We are creating some of the most exciting food and drink stories ever experienced on this Island and our ambition is to bring Ireland’s food story to the world.”
Over fifty businesses and individuals from Cork, today attended the first of Fáilte Ireland’s Taste the Island workshops for Cork in The Celtic Ross Hotel, with the second workshop scheduled for next Monday 20th May in The River Lee Hotel. This is part of a series of workshops taking place across Ireland over the next number of weeks to develop a strong programme of food and drink experiences that can be included in the Taste the Island initiative. The workshops have been organised for the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme and Fáilte Ireland have produced a number of promotional videos for the workshops and can be viewed HERE.
Globally, Ireland is known as a nation with a vibrant culture with green fields and pristine waters together with a mild wet climate which gives us bountiful, sustainable and high-quality food produce. To enhance this reputation and to secure a greater reputation for Ireland in 2020 and beyond, a new all-island initiative – ‘Taste the Island – a celebration of Ireland’s food and drink’ has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with Tourism Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and a range of stakeholders.
The new initiative, Taste the Island, will showcase Ireland’s world-class food and drink culture across the island of Ireland from September to November by providing visitors with access to authentic food and drink experiences, high quality local ingredients and world class Irish food and drink produce. In 2018 food and drink consumption accounted for around €2.6bn, or 35% of visitor spend and this expensive programme will seek to create an awareness and renewed appreciation at home and abroad of the strength and richness of Ireland’s food culture today.
Commenting at the workshop in Cork’s Celtic Ross Hotel, Tracey Coughlan, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Tourism – Strategy and Programmes Manager, commented:
“The range and quality of food and drink experiences that we met at the workshop here in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Cork today are really world class and have the potential to drive a lot more tourists to this area. We know that there is scope for growth around food and drink for tourists and aligned with our world-famous seascapes and landscapes, we have an incredibly strong offering to motivate tourists to visit here.
Taste the Island is designed to showcase Ireland’s fantastic food and drink across September, October and November and I look forward to seeing some really strong ideas coming out of today’s workshop. What’s really important now is that people submit their proposals outlining what they are going to do for Taste the Island for what’s shaping up to be chock full season of food festivals and events all showcasing our world class produce.
Also commenting on the Taste the Island initiative, Neil Grant, the Celtic Ross Hotel and IHF Cork Chairman, said:
“We at the Celtic Ross Hotel are delighted to be a host venue for this fantastic “Taste the Island” campaign. I truly believe that the quality of Irish Food is World Class and that it is becoming more and more important to our overseas guests. What’s more, they recognise that Ireland stands above many of its competitors internationally, in the ethos of championing amazing local produce in Pubs, Cafes, Restaurants & Hotels all over Ireland. It is great to see this campaign focused on the months where we have the capacity and need business, it truly will help to extend our season particularly in rural Cork.”
To kickstart the new and exciting initiative, Fáilte Ireland have invited businesses and individuals interested in providing tourists with a food or drink experience to attend workshops in their local area. Today’s workshop which took place in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Cork is the seventh of eighteen workshops for the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019.
Ms Coughlan continued:
“This initiative supports Fáilte Ireland’s strategic imperative to address seasonality and grow revenue by driving increasing bed nights outside of the summer season while also driving visitors to explore lesser-known locations across the country and will, in the long term, enhance Ireland’s international food and drink reputation before they get here.”
A new Toolkit guide (website www.failteireland.ie/tastetheisland) on how the industry can deliver and maximise the opportunities in food and drink tourism, including a step by step guide for their business built around these 5 pillars:
- Taste – pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels- everywhere you can taste out fantastic food and drink
- Meet the maker – our passionate and innovative food producers
- Make it yourself – our wonderful interactive food experiences, cookery schools and educational facilities
- Trail/Networks – over 30 trails or clusters of businesses working together to enhance the visitor’s food and drink experience all over the country
- Festivals and Events – We are building a programme full of festivals and events throughout the Taste the Island from September to November 2019