Economy Committee Commends ‘Ni Year of Food and Drink’ success
The Assembly Committee for the Economy held an event at Parliament Buildings today to mark the success of the ‘Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink’ initiative. In the month dedicated to ‘Legacy and Learning’, the Committee welcomed many award-winning local producers who showcased their skills and demonstrated how the campaign will help create a sustainable legacy for the local tourism and hospitality sectors.
Deputy Chairperson of the Economy Committee, Mr Steve Aiken MLA said: “The Committee is delighted to host this event to celebrate and commend the success of the 2016 campaign. Tourism NI have worked tirelessly with local producers and the hospitality sector to ensure that the quality of our local food is worthy of competing on a global scale. Many of our local chefs have worked hard to build and maintain their world-renowned reputations and the first-class talent we produce here is recognised across the world. The tourism and hospitality sectors are thriving and have been given a fantastic boost with the success of the Year of Food and Drink campaign.
“The year-long celebration of our food and drink has taught many of us more about our culinary history and the growing, breeding, crafting and cooking elements. There is no doubt this year has been a huge success – it has raised our tourism product profile and created a strong legacy going forward. Food tourism already contributes significantly to the economy here, and we must work hard to build on that success and create a sustainable legacy for the local tourism and hospitality sectors.
“I’d like to thank the many producers and growers who have attended today’s event and showcased some of the world class produce we are fortunate enough to have on our door steps. The success of the Year of Food and Drink is testament to all those involved in the industry, from the breeders to the chefs, and we should be extremely proud of what we can and have achieved.”
Tourism NI Chief Executive, John McGrillen, commented: “The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink has been embraced across the tourism and hospitality industry, the food and agri-food sectors, internationally and across social media, and as a consequence of this cross sector collaboration the initiative has been a great success to date.
“Tourism in Northern Ireland generated £764 million last year, a third of which was spent was on food and drink. The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink has been a prime opportunity to showcase to the world, ourselves and our visitors the unique food offering we have and this will only serve to increase Northern Ireland’s reputation in food and drink both at home and with our visitors. 2016 leaves us with an excellent foundation upon which to build further tourism success.”