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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Donegal Food Producers work towards Developing their Food Tourism potential

Food Tourism is a fast growing market segment internationally and many Irish tourist destinations are now developing this important sector as a means of gaining competitive advantage. Food creates a link to interacting with local people, which is of significant importance for visitors and can be a vehicle for experiencing our culture and heritage. Failte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, are the driving force behind the recent increase in the regional development of Food Tourism in Ireland.

It is a natural business progression that food producers also open their production facilities to visiting tourists so that they can experience the story behind the local food. This obviously creates an opportunity for a food brand to become personalised and this in turn can create new customers for the product as people feel a bond with the product through their experience with the producer.

The food producers in southwest of Ireland realised this potential several years ago and with the help of The Allen Family at Ballymaloe and local food writers like John & Sally McKenna, who also live in west Cork, they have established the south and southwest of Ireland as leading the way in the development of Irish Food Tourism.



"We want to show Donegal Food Producers the potential increased revenues that can be achieved by adding tourism experiences to their facilities such as taking a more active part in the development of local food trails, starting new food festivals and showcasing their product, on-site, to visitors." said Eve Anne McCarron, Business Executive for The Food Coast, Donegal’s Good Food Initiative.

And so, Donegal County Enterprise through their Donegal Food Coast initiative have joined up with Irish Food Tours to offer a new concept in understanding food tourism education and are organising a Food & Tourism Insight Tour to the west coast via Sligo, Mayo & Galway. 

This tour will help Donegal food producers in the coastal regions of the county to understand the ethos behind the newly developed Failte Ireland Wild Atlantic Way. It will also benefit food producers who are not on the Wild Atlantic Way route by helping them to understand the business potentials that are possible by developing part of their food business as a tourism experience for visitors.




The Donegal County Enterprise Board are working with Zack Gallagher who is collating the tour & it's itinerary and has been developing a co-ordinated approach to Irish Food Tourism over the last year with his business partner, Wendy White Kavanagh, who co-founded Irish Food Tours.

"We have been building up our connections with food producers all over Ireland with a view to being able to facilitate Food Tours such as this," said Zack. "We work with Tour Operators, HR Departments and Educational facilities that want to offer Food Tours as part of their operations and also with government agencies, like County Enterprise Boards, that wish to develop better food tourism in their region."

The Purpose of this tour is to invite Donegal food producers to visit and meet with established producers that have already developed their business and embraced the potential of food tourism or include guided visits to their premises.

Format of the Tour:             2 Days, 1 Overnight.
Dates:                                  Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th, November 2013.
                                            
Departures from:                         Letterkenny & Donegal Town




If you are from County Donegal and have an interest in developing the food tourism potential of your business or becoming a producer with a food tourism offering, please contact Eve-Anne McCarron to register your interest at emccarron@donegalenterprise.ie or call 074-9160735. Tour costs per person are supported by Donegal County Enterprise Board. CLICKHERE for more Details. Limited spaces available. 

A Failte Ireland link with more information on the different ways that a food producer can be involved in food tourism can be found by clicking here.

Zack

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