independent

Saturday 22 September 2018

Food tourism initiative will improve visitors' experiences

Lorraine O’Dwyer from Gallivanting Tours, John Harty of Taste of Sligo and Teresa Cawley Krebs of Taste of Sligo
Lorraine O’Dwyer from Gallivanting Tours, John Harty of Taste of Sligo and Teresa Cawley Krebs of Taste of Sligo

Esther Hayden

Wexford has a new nine month food tourism initiative in a bid to improve visitor experiences locally through food.

The new initiative, Taste Wexford, is a nine-month Step Change programme which is backed by Failte Ireland. Wexford, Kerry and Sligo will all take part in the programme which is designed improve the impact of visitor experiences locally through food. The new programme, which kicked off at the Savoy Hotel in Limerick will help the food networks, which promote food and tourism packages in their local areas, to play an enhanced role in tourism in their region.

Attending the programme for Wexford was Maura Bell from the Irish National Heritage Park, Paula Ronan from the Wexford Food Family and Lorraine O'Dwyer from Gallivanting Tours along with the team behind Enniscorthy's Rockin Food Festival, Jean O'Connell and Anthony O'Toole from O'Connell Marketing, all core members of Wexford latest Tourism initiative, Taste Wexford.

The Taste Wexford group will receive a food focused visitor evaluation of their destination, participate in a number of structured development workshops and connect with other food network leaders to share best practise and new insights around experience development.

Sinead Hennessy of Fáilte Ireland said that the initiative is initially designed to focus the energy of the three food networks, Taste Kerry, Sligo Food Trail and Taste Wexford, towards having an increased tourism and visitor impact support and will be gradually rolled out to other Food Networks throughout the country. She said:

'We know that high quality local experiences are a major contributor to a visitor's holiday satisfaction - creating positive memories and return visits - and Ireland's Food and Drink offering has a leading role to play in delivering these great experiences.

'The role of effective local food networks in tourism is vital as they show the considerable gains that can be made when visitors are placed at the centre of activities, linking food with the local culture, all whilst strengthening and sustaining local food enterprises.

'This Step Change Programme has been developed to support Food Tourism Networks that want to scale up the efforts in tourism to deliver a world-class, connected destination offering that is consistent and profitable.'

Lorraine O'Dwyer, from Gallivanting Tours, attended the programme for Taste Wexford said: 'I am delighted to be part of this Step Change programme. The practical format allows us to evaluate how visitors experience the food offering in Wexford and the critical factors that need to be developed to ensure we stand out a destination with great food and drink experiences. Wexford is currently known for its potatoes and strawberries, but on the ground we know there is a lot more to Wexford's food story and its time the rest of the world discovered it!'

Ramping up the visitor experience is important as food and drink play a substantial part in helping to generate and sustain economic opportunity and development by increasing visitor numbers, dwell time, spend and satisfaction in visited areas.

Taste Wexford is the experiential side of Wexford's food and drink offering opened to all visitors to explore and taste.

If you are interested in finding out how your business might benefit from this initiative you can list your food experience on the Taste Wexford website by emailing Jean O'Connell at info@joconnellmarketing.com.

Wexford People

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