Tourism Food Sector Should Raise Its Game

25 Jan 2018 | 02.18 pm

Tourism Food Sector Should Raise Its Game

Tourists to Ireland want more fish

25 Jan 2018 | 02.18 pm

Tourists do not visit Ireland as food destination, according to a Failte Ireland survey, but seem to get a pleasant surprise on arrival. However, they generally do not view the range of food as extensive, and they bemoan the lack of fish on menus.

The agency says that the industry needs to work towards changing the perception among visitors to reposition Irish food and drink as a compelling reasons to visit Ireland.

Director of commercial development Paul Keeley said that the majority of overseas visitors are positively surprised and satisfied by the overall quality of Ireland’s food and drink offering, but prior to coming their expectations are low.

“Among those deciding on a holiday location, the expectation of good food is nearly as important as hospitality. We undoubtedly have the product and expertise to ensure that our food and drink offering gains a global reputation that matches the reality on the ground,” he added.

In general, visitors expect Irish food to be similar to that in Britain. They expect to find fish and chips, bangers, various beers (especially Guinness), spirits (especially whiskey), an Irish breakfast, an abundance of potatoes, and bland food.

Failte Ireland believes a major marketing effort is needed to ensure that the Irish food and drink offering gains a global reputation that matches the reality. “We need to tell a new story about the Irish food and drink experience, focusing on quality, authenticity, innovation and value for money,” says the agency.

Failte Ireland has unveiled a new strategy to increase and enhance the awareness and perception of Ireland’s food and drink offering. In 2017, revenue from overseas visitors totalled €6.5 billion with approximately €2 billion spent on food and drink. By targeted investment and effective promotion of the quality food and drink experiences available, the report claims that food could help grow tourism revenue by as much as €400m over the next five years.

Photo: Ketty Elisabeth, Delicious Dublin Tours, with Gabriel Faherty of Aran Island Goats Cheese. (Pix: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography)

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