First Minister, Arlene Foster MLA and the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA today said they are more determined than ever to support and grow the food and drink industry in 2016.
attended an event in the Ulster Hall showcasing a range of local produce as the
opener for the Year of Food and Drink 2016.
the array of awards and accolades achieved by the food and restaurant sectors
in Northern Ireland, First Minister, Arlene Foster said: "The
quality of our food is a major reason why people come to Northern Ireland. Food
tourism already generates over £350million per year to the local economy, but I
believe there is significant room for further growth.
gives us the opportunity to unashamedly restate that Northern Ireland’s food
and drink heritage is not just unique, but among the finest tastes and flavours
to be found anywhere in the world.
“As the next 12
months of food and drink experiences unfold, there will be no better time for
locals, visitors and global markets alike to enjoy a true taste of Northern
"The Year of
Food and Drink 2016 is a very exciting initiative and hugely important for
Northern Ireland. As we showcase, advertise and enjoy our finest and tastiest
produce all through the year, I believe Northern Ireland will perform very well
as the destination of choice for food and drink."
The deputy First
Minister, Martin McGuinness said: "Food and drink is an important
element of our tourism proposition and global pitch. This £2.75million
initiative will assist everyone involved in the food and drink industry to take
our influence to another level. It is an important element of our ambition to
build and develop a £1billion tourism industry by the end of the decade.
“We have a wealth of
high quality, safe and wholesome foods available to the processing, food
service and retail sectors. Our produce has world leading traceability and
safety controls and is produced on farms with a strong track record in quality
assurance systems and high animal health and welfare standards. This makes our
produce very attractive to the global market.
“We must drive
quality, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship which will increase
employment capacity in the food and hospitality sectors. I urge everyone with a
role to play to do everything they possibly can to support this initiative to
develop, enhance and promote the food and drink product at home and abroad.”
Enterprise, Trade and
Investment Minister Jonathan Bell added: “More and more people are choosing
Northern Ireland as a business and tourism destination and we have continued to
see the tourism sector grow, sustaining jobs and creating new business
opportunities. Food is a major reason why people come here and tourists spend
over £350million per year on food and drink alone. Northern Ireland is a
foodies’ heaven and the Year of Food and Drink provides an excellent
opportunity for both locals and visitors alike to experience and learn more
about food and drink and perhaps try something new which reflects the different
The Year of Food and
Drink initiative, with a different theme for every month, is aimed at putting
food and drink at the heart of the visitor experience.
The initiative is
being led by Tourism Northern Ireland and involves a wide range of partners and
key organisations in the food and drink industry.
Notes to editors:
1. Guests also heard
from TV presenter and food critic Nigel Barden and BBC Good Food Show
representative Laura Biggs. The BBC Good Food Show Northern Ireland will
commence a three year run in Northern Ireland in October.
2. The BBC Good Food
Show will take place 14-16 October at Belfast Waterfront. The show will bring
its winning food and entertainment format to Northern Ireland, alongside the
already established event that take place in Scotland, London, Harrogate and
3. The Year of Food
and Drink initiative, with a different theme for every month, is aimed at
putting food and drink at the heart of the Northern Ireland visitor experience.
4. For more
information go to: http://www.tourismni.com/
5. Media enquiries to
OFMDFM press office on 028 9037 8119. Out of office hours, please contact the
duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be
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