Developing a Cross-County

Food Story Experience

South East Food Stories
Agritourism Experience Development Pilot Programme

November 2021 - May 2022


22 businesses, 5 counties, 5 local authorities, 1 regional development agency, 1 national tourism authority - coming together to create and share a collective regional food and drink story. This pilot programme was an iterative process based on providing spaces for discussion, seeking out the ideas and suggestions of businesses and funding stakeholders and then channelling contributions into a framework for further collaboration. It was through these consultations that the outcomes were achieved.

This was a cross-county collaborative programme which saw the coming together of 5 different County Councils and Food Groups in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.

Limerick Greenway, leafy path through gates

Project Deliverables

To assemble the core content and commitment that would form the basis of a subsequent marketing programme, including:

  • A simple and clear articulation of the South East Food Story
  • Pillars of a South East Food Story Experience Eligibility Criteria
  • Defining features of a South East Food Story Experience
  • A core group of committed participants who now have some experience in collaborating through experience development
  • 5 flagship food and drink cluster experiences that would showcase the South East Food Story
Alan Quirke and Jarlath O'Dwyer

Our Approach

We believe that a standard approach cannot be applied to a local food story. We seek to work with local groups and destinations to uncover their unique story and their unique way of telling it.

We engaged in discussions and facilitated sessions that allowed the South East Food Story to emerge.

This included stakeholder consultations with the Tourism Officers in each County Council, with the local food networks and food tourism groups in each county and with the tourism and hospitality providers that would create the visitor offering.

We aimed to encourage the creativity of programme participants to identify the best approach for them and their area. This happened almost entirely online due to public health restrictions at that time.

Below is an outline of key steps in the process:

  1. We engaged with the existing networks and food groups at county level to establish what was already in existence and could be leveraged for the programme.
  2. We mapped the potential experience clusters to ensure geographic diversity and reasonable travel expectations between each.
  3. We elevated links between experience clusters and flagship experiences so that a new experience proposition could emerge, connecting food, culture and the local story. 
  4. We brought the 5 experience clusters together online to work together on various aspects of the initiative. This helped build familiarity and awareness and provide training to support cross-county networking and promotion.
  5. We worked closely with the Steering Group and Cluster Members to finalise the criteria and framework for collaboration. These have been sense-tested and were made available for roll-out across the South East Region in the future.
  6. We collated the content, messaging, imagery, video and other collateral that can be used to create marketing material for the South East Food story e.g. a map or leaflet.
  7. We documented the process and evaluated learnings. Based on these, we created strategic recommendations for the further development of the South East Food Story.
Celebrating the launch of South East Food Stories in June 2022. Included are representatives of South East Food Story Clusters together with officials from Fáilte Ireland, Ireland South East Development Office, Carlow County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Tipperary County Council, Waterford City & County Council and Wexford County Council.

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As part of our sustainability policy, The Tourism Space™, has committed to raising awareness of how tourism can positively contribute to the global sustainability agenda. We have extensive experience, from both a research and practice perspective, in supporting the emergence of sustainable approaches within businesses and destinations. We integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into our programme design and delivery, thereby building awareness and understanding and highlighting how each business and destination can contribute in practical and meaningful ways.

Read more about how we support sustainability and regeneration