RAI launches search for 2016 Foodie destinations


Last year's winner, The Burren proved itself to be the top foodie destination fro 2015. The 2016 search was launched this week.
Last year’s winner, The Burren proved itself to be the top foodie destination fro 2015. The 2016 search was launched this week.

THE search for Ireland’s top ‘Foodie Destinations 2016’ has been launched by the RAI as applications open from this Thursday at 9am.

Foodie Destinations (formerly known as Foodie Towns) celebrates Ireland’s unique and wonderful food offerings and encourages local food tourism initiatives across the country.

The ‘Foodie Destinations 2016’ competition will see towns, villages, regions and communities from all over the country battle it out to be named Ireland’s top destination for a foodie experience.

The Foodie Destinations 2016 winner will be a destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences for locals and visitors alike. The 2016 Foodie destinations winner will have established a local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses.

Plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by Foodie Destinations judges. Education, training, development and employment will be key components of the ultimate food Foodie Destination.

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Communities across the country are urged to get involved and work with local businesses, foodie groups, Chambers of Commerce and other working groups to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors. The greater the engagement between town officials, the community and the application process, the greater chances the destination has to win the coveted title.

Collaboration is vital for the success of any community based project, and will mean the difference between the winner and runners-up of the ‘Foodie Destinations 2016’ competition. The more people that work together on this project, the greater the potential for prosperity and progress.

Last year, The Burren proved to be the top Foodie Destination for 2015. Chairperson of the Irish Food Writers Guild, Aoife Carrigy commented “What made The Burren stand out as exemplary was the comprehensiveness of their food offering from field – or in their case, fertile rock – through to fork. Food-loving tourists to The Burren are in for an intriguing treat.”

President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Anthony Gray stated, “All over Ireland, local community initiatives are shaping the food, hospitality and tourism industry at ground level. This is our opportunity to recognise these towns and communities for the amazing work they are doing to put Ireland at the forefront of culinary tourism.

Mr Gray continued, “Irish people take great pride in their localities and the dynamic nature of the hospitality industry will serve to prove that there are destinations in every pocket of the country worth visiting.”

The Application Process:

Applications will be accepted from Thursday July 14 until Thursday August 11 via an online form – http://goo.gl/forms/m7LQy7tXqU3R6sGw2
Applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts and ten finalists will be announced in August
Each of these ten finalists will receive a two hour visit from two of Ireland’s top food critics
Online voting will commence through foodiedestinations.ie and the public vote will count for 50% of the total score
The overall winner will be announced in early September
For further information about the competition or to enquire about sponsorship opportunities, please contact the Restaurants Association of Ireland on 01 677 9901 or visit our website www.foodiedestinations.ie