02 September 2012
Fáilte Ireland are currently seeking nominations for emerging food champions with a resounding passion and belief in Irish food, together with a commitment and drive to actively influence and shape the future of Irish cuisine and food tourism in their region.
Twelve nominees will be selected, representing a mixed group of owner/managers of food service businesses and members of the wider food tourism community, who are committed to playing a role in developing Ireland’s food tourism proposition and reputation.
Once selected, the group will travel on a food tourism benchmarking trip Food-Tourism-Benchmarking-Programme-Itinerary
to Prince Edward County in Canada where they will experience a bespoke itinerary developed by renowned food tourism destination expert Rebecca LeHeup
(@OntarioCulinary), Executive Director, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA), who will be the guide throughout the trip.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, said:
“Food Tourism has grown significantly over the last decade and many international destinations are now looking to this sector to gain a competitive edge. It’s a serious business as currently 35% of visitor spend here is on food and drink. We can get ahead of the curve by ensuring that we offer visitors the best local and regional food. By showcasing local produce we can really evoke a unique sense of place, and promote Ireland as an unspoilt environment”.
Once the group returns home they will work together with their local community to help build Ireland’s food tourism reputation and encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer. Working together and developing networks and relationships within their localities, they will help to enhance regional knowledge of local foods and develop engaging food experiences to truly utilise food tourism as a workable economic development strategy.
Canada’s Prince Edward County was picked as a model because it faces similar challenges to Ireland and has a range of successfully integrated food tourism products and activities, and the people behind these. While there, the group will meet with the pioneers of the local food movement about how they used quality local produce and food customs to differentiate and successfully position Prince Edward County as a reputable food tourism destination with initiatives like the Prince Edward County Taste Trail tastetrail.ca
Helen McDaid, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Tourism Manager added:
“We are seeking Leaders that can affect change in modern Irish cuisine and develop engaging food experiences that will inspire others and build on Ireland’s food tourism reputation and encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer.
Obviously from a tourism perspective how our overseas visitors view and experience Irish food while on holiday here in Ireland is important, not only for tourism, but for the economy.”
The selection process
The shortlist will be comprised of individuals who have;
• A demonstrable commitment to implement change
• A food tourism agenda
• A food business operation in business a minimum of 2 years
• Capacity to lead and/or make decisions
• Membership of food/tourism organisation/s
• Received accolades/awards
• A proven track record of collaboration.
Nominations must be received on or before 12 noon on Friday 7 September, 2012 and be available to travel between Monday 15 and Sunday 21 October, 2012. A €750 contribution is required towards the programme, with other costs being subsidised by Fáilte Ireland. Nominations online at Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2GBWS5L
For further information please contact:
Alex Connolly – Head of Communications
086 7966320/01 8847884
Note for Editor
Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.
The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 170,000 people and generates almost €5 billion in revenue a year.
Check out Fáilte Ireland’s National Food Tourism Implementation Framework 2011 - 2013