Developing a
Food Tourism Destination

Case Study of West Limerick Food Series, February - December 2019

While West Limerick had a strong food offering with a number of outstanding food performers, the region had not generally been known as a foodie destination. Recognizing this, West Limerick Resources undertook a regional food sector development initiative and retained The Tourism Space to deliver a development training series for West Limerick – ‘West Limerick Food Series’.  The initiative was rolled out over a 12-month period in the West Limerick area in 2019. 

 

Project Objectives

The objectives of the programme were to:

  • Develop and promote artisan, micro and small food businesses;
  • Facilitate networking opportunities amongst approximately 25 participants from diverse food backgrounds;
  • Highlight the potential that existed for West Limerick to develop the food tourism sector and deliver the skills necessary to develop the sector;
  • Facilitate progress in such a way that the region would benefit from other agency initiatives including The Shannon Estuary Way, the Great Southern Greenway and the Bord Bia Food Tourism Strategy.

Our Approach

The programme was developed in consultation with the West Limerick Resources and incorporating input from Fáilte Ireland, local Food Champions, the Limerick Food Strategy Co-ordinator and the Limerick Food Group.  

Top of mind was our desire to build capacity and skill within the West Limerick Food Group that would position them to develop further once the programme is complete. 

Our approach was an holistic one, going beyond delivery of training workshops, to include inter-workshop development support to ensure accountability and implementation of agreed actions. In addition to the workshop content, outside workshop contact hours included assistance with funding applications, developing marketing collateral, developing structures for co-operation and preparing media relations or promotional presentations. 

By the end of the programme, we were proud that all tools and resources needed for West Limerick to make a market breakthrough in food tourism terms were in place.  In addition to that, the participants had enough confidence and belief in the West Limerick Food Tourism proposition to propel them to further development once the programme itself concludes. 

Project Deliverables

 

  • 8 training workshops
  • A programme launch event
  • 1 local field trip in West Limerick
  • 2 field trips to the Gourmet Greenway (Mayo) and West Waterford Festival of Food.
  • A West Limerick Food Destination Launch & Springboard Event

Added Value and Impact

  • Tangible commitment by a strong core group of participants, resulting in 22 businesses investing their own time and budget into creating a West Limerick Food Destination leaflet, the first of its kind.
  • The PR workshop provided direction on how to secure local and national media coverage of the emerging food story and the programme and group were successful in achieving good press and radio coverage around the launch event.
  • The Springboard Event was hugely successful, with over 120 attendees from around the West Limerick area and various supporting bodies. The success of this event at the end of the training delivery period reinforced the momentum of the group and encouraged them to collaborate further together, both voluntarily and as part of a future programme.
  • The Springboard Event created an opportunity to build a collection of photographs of the West Limerick Food Destination and West Limerick Food Personalities, essential for further post-programme marketing and PR activity.
  • The final workshop ‘Future-Proofing your Network’ created a space for participants to make practical decisions about maintaining momentum and building the West Limerick Food Destination Story & Activity for 2020.
  • Fáilte Ireland included West Limerick Food Destination Network in its new support programme for food tourism networks in Ireland in 2020.
  • West Limerick Resources subsequently secured further LEADER funding for a Phase 2 West Limerick Destination Development Programme 2020-21.

West Limerick Resources Officials at the launch of the West Limerick Food Destination and Springboard Event

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