Some 35 per cent of visitor spend went on food and drink in 2009, according to the survey which found that some €2 billion was spent by visitors on food and drink in Ireland.
‘Food Tourism’ has grown exponentially over the last decade and many international destinations are now looking to this sector as a means of gaining a competitive edge.
“Ireland already has much to offer the visitor in terms of our food culture and the potential to build on this success, with a focus on the use of local produce, is significant,” believes Fáilte Ireland, “Using local and regional food to evoke a unique sense of place and help potential holidaymakers see Ireland as a holiday destination where the unspoilt environment and high quality food go hand-in-hand.”
Bord Bia has found that more than four in five diners believe it’s important that restaurants use local product.
Food also plays a very important part in driving overall visitor satisfaction with their holiday experience.
Today’s tourist seeks a different and more rewarding holiday experience and food is becoming an increasingly important factor in people’s choice of holiday, states Fáilte Ireland which encourages pubs and restaurants to adopt an ethos of offering fresh, locally-sourced, seasonal food on their menu and – just as importantly – making sure they’re telling their customers about it as part of concepts such as its ‘Place on the Plate’.
“Pubs are a key attraction for visitors while holidaying in Ireland. They also like to eat in pubs as they enjoy the informal atmosphere and the chance to mix with the locals. Visitors are looking for an authentic Irish experiences and using the principles of Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Place on the Plate’ concept which focuses on using fresh local produce, the visitor can get a sense of where they are and the distinctive personality of the locale through the food that they eat.
“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,” concludes the tourist body.