Sustaining food tourism networks: barriers and facilitators
O'Leary, Denise F.
Stafford, Mary Rose
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Ireland’s food industry is already capitalising on the perception of Ireland as natural, green and pure. Irish organic smoked salmon, for example, is currently being sold in Europe at a higher premium than Norwegian and Scottish organic smoked salmon (Grant Thornton 2012). This suggests that Ireland’s destination brand of natural and pure can be leveraged to develop Ireland as a destination for tourists seeking experiences related to high quality, natural food products. In light of this opportunity, Fáilte Ireland has developed a National Food Tourism Implementation Framework. Within the framework, the importance of developing and promoting Ireland as a food tourism destination is emphasised. Food tourists want to experience a sense of place through food which means that to provide this experience, high quality, good value, authentic local food, as well as Irish cuisine, must be available. Therefore, those interested in developing food tourism must aim to enhance visitors’ experiences of food by ensuring that their expectations with regard to availability, variety and value of local foods are met and exceeded. Integral to this aim is the development of food-related events and ensuring a consistently high quality of food and food tourism related offerings. The intention of this paper is to see how Ireland can leverage its already existing competitiveness in the organic food market, to attract tourists to come and visit and enjoy that food experience, and also look at any barriers that might exist to make this a reality. Whilst looking at any other facilitators that can be taken advantage of.
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