Registration has now opened for next month’s ‘Focus on Food’ conference, which will put the spotlight on the importance of food to the tourism.
With Belfast having been named one of the world’s top six food destinations in ‘High Life’ magazine’s annual ‘Hot List’, the one day free event – organized by Belfast City Council in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), through its Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme, and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) – will take place at St George’s Market on Tuesday February 17.
According to the most recent edition of the Belfast Tourism Monitor, visitors spend an average of £60 per day on food during their stay in Belfast, resulting in an overall annual spend of more than £453m and a total economic impact of £553m.
The aim of the ‘Focus on Food’ conference is to see what more can be done to maximize the economic benefit of food tourism, not only for Belfast in particular but the region as a whole. It will look at the long term development of food tourism in the city, and is designed to promote Belfast’s food tourism message; inspire the industry to collaborate and create new visitor experiences; engage producers, chefs and outlets together to better promote the food message to visitors; encourage the use of local produce in menus and enable those in the industry to share experiences, challenges and opportunities.
‘Focus on Food’ will be hosted by the renowned food writer Xanthe Clay, with keynote speakers including award-winning writer and TV presenter James McIntosh, Fia Gulliksson, official food ambassador for the Swedish government and CEO of ‘Food In Action’, and author Joe Warwick.
Other contributors will include hotelier James McGinn, entrepreneur Bill Wolsley, restaurateur Niall McKenna and award-winning producer Peter Hannan, as well as representatives from Tourism Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Food NI.
To register, and for further information, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastfood. Attendees can also keep up to date with developments on Twitter, by following @belfast_food or #belfastfocusonfood.