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Visitor Satisfaction Ratings Soar for Northern Ireland’s Food and Drink

Tourism NI chairman Terence Brannigan has welcomed the resounding success of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink.

His comments came during an event at the Ulster Museum celebrating the impact and achievements of the 12-month-long initiative, which was aimed at putting food and drink at the heart of the tourism experience.

The Tourism NI-organised event highlighted the successes of the year and a strong performance against Year of Food and Drink aims and objectives.

Mr Brannigan said; “The satisfaction ratings we’ve received from the tourism industry and from our visitors for friendly, efficient service, use of local produce, opportunities to experience, and the availability of good local food and drink are very encouraging and now stand at 83% overall. Food tourism in Northern Ireland is now ‘in business’ and has the potential to impact significantly on visitor spend in the future. This can only serve to help tourism reach its overall objectives to the end of the decade”.

“It’s been a year of big gains not just for our visitors and the tourism and hospitality industry, but for the food and drink and agri-food sectors, for export sales and food businesses. The year has also allowed the tourism and hospitality sectors to bring their food stories, food heritage and food and drink culture fully alive, and share them with visitors and residents alike in new and inventive ways”.

Niall McKenna of James Street South who participated in the Year of Food and Drink Steering Group said; “The Year of Food and Drink has provided a firm foundation to build a platform for our incredible food and drink offering, and shine the spotlight on locally produced goods.

“Restauranteurs across Northern Ireland share a collective responsibility to showcase our indigenous produce in the most creative and impactful ways, and to as wide an audience as possible – something James Street South and our sister restaurants are wholly committed to. With visitor numbers to Belfast growing there is a palpable positivity about the city as a vibrant hospitality destination and we need to keep the momentum of Year and Food and Drink going over 2017 and beyond to embed our tourism offering for the global market.”

The celebration event was attended by key partners, stakeholders and industry representatives as well as media invitees from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

It featured five courses of exquisite local produce, including ‘Born and Braised’, Northern Ireland’s new signature dish.

Among the guests were high-profile food critic, Charles Campion, a regular on BBC TV’s Masterchef and a judge on the forthcoming Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.

Photo Caption: Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th January 2017 - Tourism NI Chairman Terence Brannigan joins Aine Kearney, Director of Business Support and Events of Tourism NI, Chef Niall McKenna and John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI at an event at the Ulster Museum to celebrate the impact and achievements of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

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