The Food Capital of Ireland
I recently attended the 2018 Tourism Atlas Conference in Copenhagen to present my research paper ‘Destination Cork: A New Frontier for the Culinary Curious Tourist’.
It became apparent there that most of the other delegates attending the conference, from continents across the globe, had never visited Cork. It wasn’t on their radar as being a food tourism destination and they were not aware of the fantastic range of local produce and food offerings available in the region.
Michelin Star Awards 2019
Last week the Cork region received three Michelin star restaurants – Ichigo Ichie in Cork city, the Mews in Baltimore and Chestnut Restaurant in Ballydehob, West Cork.
The Bastion Restaurant in Kinsale retained it’s Bib Gourmands award and Dillon’s Restaurant in Timoleague also received a Bib Gourmands award.
Dishes from Ichigo Ichie, Cork City
Dishes from The Bastion, Kinsale
The region has always been fantastic in terms of it’s culinary offerings but these awards will no doubt help to further elevate it in terms of being considered a food tourism destination by international tourists.
There’s so much choice when it comes to food destinations worldwide however as noted in my research paper Cork has a unique offering due to it’s geographical position on both the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East tourism routes, which are both internationally promoted by Failte Ireland. My research also further exposed a potential space for Cork, due to it having a unique food tourism offering with 75% of the participants maintaining that Cork has not yet successfully tapped into this tourism offering.
So there are exciting times ahead for Cork! From the excellent range of fresh ingredients available at the local farmers markets to the restaurant service offerings available across the city and county.
However it is still very important to bear in mind that for the last few years the tourism sector has operated on a tax rate of 9% to help it remain competitive internationally. The budget announced his week for 2019 has altered this and the hospitality sector will pay now a rate to 13.5%.
Local food service providers will find it harder to sustain the increased 4.5% tax rate applied to their sector. So now is the time to support all our local independent restaurants and food producers even more.