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29 Jan 2016

New York launch of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016

Minister Bell addresses influential American food writers and travel professionals at Tourism Ireland event

Tourism Minister Jonathan Bell launched Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 in the United States yesterday (Thursday, 28 January) – at an event in New York organised by Tourism Ireland, which was attended by leading American food writers, tour operators and airlines. Earlier this week, Tourism Ireland launched Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink in Scotland.

Minister Bell told the New York audience all about Northern Ireland’s world-class ingredients, talented chefs, wonderful restaurants and cookery schools, as well as our rich food heritage. Chefs Ian Orr, from Browns Restaurant in Londonderry, and Stephen Toman, from OX Belfast, provided the hors d’oeuvres and were on hand to share their expertise and enthusiasm about Northern Ireland food with the journalists and other guests.

Speaking at the launch, Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to highlight and celebrate our wonderful food and drink scene throughout 2016, promoting Northern Ireland food in the US and elsewhere around the world. We are inviting everyone to come and enjoy 366 days of celebration – where they can discover the best of local produce and have the chance to experience the wonderful landscapes and coastline which make Northern Ireland so special. With so many great events planned for the year ahead, our message for American travellers is that there has never been a better time to enjoy a true taste of Northern Ireland.”

Building on the success of 2015, Tourism Ireland will highlight the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as other iconic experiences like The Gobbins Cliff Path and Titanic Belfast, our unique National Trust properties and, of course, our world-class golf courses. The organisation will continue to target ‘best prospect’ American visitors – promoting distinctive vacation experiences, events and special packages which are tailored to their interests and designed to encourage more American holidaymakers to travel here now.

  Ian Orr, Browns Restaurant; Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland; Tourism Minister Jonathan Bell; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland; and Stephen Toman, OX Belfast, at the launch of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 in New York.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is responsible for in excess of 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 43,000 jobs.
  • In 2015, we welcomed about 1.9 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of about £454 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2015, attracted about 16.5 million visitors.