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Tourism Events Scheme steps up to the plate for YoFaD

NI Year of Food and Drink

Posted by Tourism NI

Published May 17, 2016

Financial support from Tourism NI provides a lifeline to a host of events whether global happenings such as the Giro d’Italia, international events like the NI Open or national levels events like Georgian Day. However, this year has seen a further lift with the allocation of additional support as part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016.

Tourism Events Scheme steps up to the plate for YoFaD

A total of 48 events have been successful and are being supported from a £300,000 Year of Food and Drink Tourism Events Scheme secured from central government for the 12-month long initiative. Allocation of the budget, designed to enhance and uplift the food and drink element of existing events or create a new authentic food and drink experience at new events, has recently been finalised by TNI’s events team. With awards ranging in value from £3,000 to £10,000, recipients include Shane’s Castle Vintage Steam Fair, a Bluegrass Festival in Omagh, a brand new addition to the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, and a ‘Meat and Greet’ at the Féile International Food Fayre.

Operated under a similar format to Tourism NI’s existing National Tourism Events Sponsorship Scheme, recipients applied via an open call process and submitted applications demonstrating how the event aligned to a number of key requirements. The aim of the sponsorship was to support the YoFaD overall and included: enhancing the reputation of local food and drink; celebrating food and drink culture; enhancing and reviving the food offering at existing events and ensuring the creation of new and authentic experiences.

 “This has been put into practice in a number of ways,” said Eddie Rowan, Events Manager “for example with the Apple Blossom Festival in Armagh. This is an annual event which normally happens anyway and celebrates the PGI of the Bramley Apple. However, with sponsorship from the YoFaD Tourism Events Scheme, it will ultimately further enhance the visitor journey at the event by adding in food tours and a range of new tasting experiences.”

A brand new event ‘Veg Stock’, also supported by the Scheme, has seen the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival create Ireland’s first meat-free festival. The one-day event showcased high quality, local food and drink having also “beefed up proceedings” with a full line-up of live music.

“Veg Stock is a great example of what this sponsorship can achieve as the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival hadn’t included a food element before. However, it has also provided an opportunity for lesser known events to come to our attention and receive support.”

Amongst the eligibility parameters was total visitor numbers of over 1000 and a minimum income and expenditure of £30,000 (prior to receiving monies from TNI). This was reduced from the usual £50,000 mark of the National Tourism Events Sponsorship Scheme.

“The first questions presented to applicants were in relation to the Year of Food and Drink itself as to what exactly they were going to do to underpin its message,” continued Eddie. “We also required a demonstration of how the monthly themes would be linked in, how local and seasonal produce would be used, lists of local producers supplying the event and how those collaborations would forge new relationships in the future.

“Part of the requirements of the sponsorship scheme”, continued Eddie, “is how recipients will promote the YoFaD, a factor which was closely examined when scoring applications.

 “Typically in the Tourism Event Sponsorship Scheme we ask how Tourism NI and Discover NI could be promoted through the event marketing channels and this is broken down into print, paid advertising, PR and online marketing. In terms of the YoFaD the applicant was asked to highlight what opportunities they can give NI YoFaD within the marketing of their event.”

The process doesn’t end there however as each event is attended by a Tourism NI representative, who looks forward to experiencing the event and witness the YoFaD event come to life. “As we couldn’t possibly see everything at the event, there’s a post-event evaluation whereby applicants get the opportunity to report on their event and prove how they have met the agreed conditions. Payments are then made after the event has taken place and all post event items completed.

“We have a busy year ahead and the team look forward to working with all the event organisers throughout Northern Ireland to deliver an authentic NI Year of food and drink event experiences to remember.”

Posted by Tourism NI

Produced by Tourism NI