Waterford Greenway Set to Become Culinary Capital of the South East
Fáilte Ireland has unveiled plans to make the Waterford Greenway a top culinary destination with the potential to attract more overseas visitors and drive significant growth in the area. The new ‘Savour the Greenway’ programme seeks to leverage the growing tourism trend for seeking out locally sourced food and culture in order to maximise the appeal of the Waterford Greenway, a 46km off-road cycling and walking trail from the Viking City of Waterford to the picturesque coastal town of Dungarvan.
The Greenway has proven to be a hit with overseas visitors, having welcomed almost 250,000 visitors last year alone. Working alongside Waterford County Council and Food the Waterford Way, Fáilte Ireland has already delivered training programmes for almost 50 enterprises along the Waterford Greenway to create authentic food and drink experiences which bring the culture of the local area to life.
As part of the Ireland’s Ancient East brand, Fáilte Ireland will continue to work with local drink and food operators along the Greenway to develop a number of food experiences which can be promoted internationally by 2019.
Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, Jenny De Saulles, said: “Visitors to Ireland’s Ancient East come here to seek out local stories and culture. The Waterford Greenway has already proven to be a hit with overseas visitors and the new ‘Savour the Greenway’ programme will not only drive growth in terms of visitor numbers and spend, it will also bring to life the culture of the local area through authentic and high-quality food experiences. There is a really rich food offering along the Waterford Greenway and Fáilte Ireland has already started to work with tourism businesses of all shapes and sizes to develop a number of top-class food experiences of scale, which can be marketed internationally by next year. With the perfect combination of top quality food operators, a great visitor experience, storytelling, scenery and culture, the Greenway really has the potential to become the culinary capital of the South East and a gem in the crown of the Ireland’s Ancient East tourism offering.”
The Savour the Greenway programme forms part of Fáilte Ireland’s new Food and Drink Development Strategy, which seeks to increase the number of tourism businesses engaged with development initiatives, and to increase and enhance the awareness and perception of Ireland’s food and drink offering overseas.
In 2017, revenue from overseas visitors totalled €6.5 billion with approximately a third – about €2 billion – spent on food and drink. By targeted investment and effective promotion of the quality food and drink experiences available, the report claims that Food could help grow tourism revenue by as much as €400 million over the next five years.
Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Waterford, commented: “The Ireland’s Ancient East brand has already brought greater unity to Waterford’s tourism offering for international visitors and, with top produce and food on the menu across the county, I know that our ‘Savour the Greenway’ programme with Fáilte Ireland will really enhance the Greenway and bring its offer to life. Through our training programmes, we have already helped almost 50 enterprises in the area to develop top visitor experiences through food and I look forward to seeing how the programme will help to draw more visitors to the area and help to drive growth in the local economy.”
Food and drink experiences play a substantial part in helping to generate and sustain economic opportunity and development by increasing visitor numbers, dwell time, spend and satisfaction in visited areas. There have been great strides over recent years in the quality of Ireland’s food and drink offering – now including 16 whiskey distilleries and 15+ gin distilleries, 60+ micro-breweries, 7,000+ pubs and over 2,400 restaurants including 12 Michelin Starred properties, over 60 food festivals, 160 farmer markets, 40 cookery schools and 27 active food networks.