Showcasing Taste Causeway to International BuyersNov 22, 2023
October and November were incredibly busy for Taste Causeway as, for the first time, we have had the opportunity to sell Taste Causeway as an entity, representing all members as a collaborative.
With support from Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, Taste Causeway was represented at tourism trade shows in Canada, USA, London and at ITOA, the major trade show for international tour operators bringing visitors to Ireland, which was held in Armagh.
On the producers' side 9 businesses were selected to attend the Invest NI Food and Drink Showcase in Belfast.
Here is a quick round up …
Claire O’Kane and Mark Rodgers represented Taste Causeway in Canada and the USA on Tourism Ireland trade missions. Investing their own money with funding support from Tourism Ireland and Taste Causeway. They took out a brand new Taste Causeway e-brochure with details of over 25 businesses and samples of our local food and drink.
Canada is an up-and-coming market with direct flights now operating into Dublin. Taste Causeway successfully applied to be part of this trade mission. Claire was one of only 3 businesses from NI selected to attend buyer meetings and presentations in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Mark Rodgers was selected to attend the USA trade show at the beginning of November. He commented:
“I was part of a team of 14 businesses from across the Island of Ireland who travelled to America to showcase The Causeway Coast, Taste Causeway and my own Landmark Luxury to luxury tour operators and agents at 4 locations on the East Coast - Boston, Greenwich, New Jersey and New York. I conducted over 70 one-to-one appointments and attended 4 networking events. The buyer interest was phenomenal - food and drink is seen as a huge part of our heritage culture. I have 4 buyer FAM trips organised for 2024, many of whom have not been in our part of the world before, firm business secured for our partners and lots of solid enquiries putting our destination and Taste Causeway firmly into the buyers mindset in this NICHE luxury marketplace.”
Sharon Scott, Taste Causeway Facilitator, Geri Martin from Chocolate Manor and Nikki Picken from Bushmills Inn represented Taste Causeway on the Tourism Ireland stand at World Travel Market, the largest travel trade show in the world. This was a fabulous opportunity to join 60 businesses from across the island of Ireland selling the destination.
“We made great connections with Destination Management Companies and have already started those all-important pricing and rate discussions with a number of them. Buyers were attracted to our collaborative approach and ability to work together to develop bespoke itineraries and packages suited to their customer’s budget and time constraints”
This buyer interest was also evident at ITOA (inbound Tour Operators Association) in Armagh where over 60 trade buyers attended this annual show. Collectively the Taste Causeway representatives held around 30 meetings. This event is one of the most important with visitors handled by ITOA members spending over €462 million holidaying in Ireland with an average length of stay of 8 nights for groups and 5.5 nights for FIT visitors. Each ITOA tourist spent an average of €934 in 2022.
The Invest NI Food and Drink Showcase in Belfast, which was attended by over 60 key retail, food service buyers and media from GB, ROI and international markets allowed Taste Causeway businesses, many for the first time, direct contact with buyers from major retailers such as Dunnes and Tesco.
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