Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell, has addressed the legacy The Year of Food and Drink will build for Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the Danske Advantage Food and Drink Event in Belfast Jonathan Bell said: “The Northern Ireland Year of Food & Drink 2016 is an exciting initiative which presents an opportunity to showcase our vibrant food sector. We can boast some world-class produce, not to mention talented chefs, restaurants, skilled cookery schools and a rich food heritage, all of which is becoming better known, especially in Great Britain, one of our key markets.
“The Year of Food and Drink will play a central part of the Northern Ireland marketing and destination sell as we progress throughout the year, and Tourism NI is rolling out a range of support measures to enable the industry to make the most of these next 12 months.
“I am confident this year will be a resounding success and leave a lasting legacy with significant improvement in the range, quality and availability of food tourism products, service, events and activities to help drive visitor satisfaction and deliver long-term growth and sustainability. I am certain The Year of Food and Drink will help to consolidate Northern Ireland’s growing reputation for excellence in food production and hospitality.
“Food is a major reason why people come here with tourists spending over £350million per year on food and drink alone. It reflects and delivers a sense of ‘place’ for a visitor and is a vital part of the tourism experience – with many already saying it is a key factor when choosing Northern Ireland for a short break.
“I am pleased with the significant interest already generated by the Year of Food and Drink and would continue to encourage stakeholders in the industry to actively get involved in this initiative and give visitors a taste of what makes Northern Ireland’s food and drink so special.”