Galway to host global forum on food, tourism and culture

Farmers and their produce will feature at touRRoir, a cross-sector global forum on food tourism and culture, which will be held in Galway on April 23 and 24.

A Good Food Ireland event, touRRoir 2018 (touRRoir18) will be hosted at NUI Galway to coincide with Galway’s designation as European region of gastronomy – as it grows its status in food, tourism and culture, paving the way for Galway European Capital of Culture 2020.

touRRoir will bring together ‘thought leaders’, experienced practitioners and ‘change agents’ for a cross-sector dialogue on how – through the inextricable link of food, tourism and culture – companies can grow business, local communities can flourish and destinations can ensure a sustainable economic future.

Margaret Jeffares, founder and managing director of Good Food Ireland, said that food, tourism and culture represent giant industries in their own right and, combined, account for the lion’s share of global employment.

Their cross-sector effect on businesses and communities and their economies and social fabric is hugely significant, she said.

Consumers’ search for authenticity and truth in terms of product, service and experience will have a major focus on the touRRoir18 theme ‘A Unified Force for Good: Food, Tourism and Culture’

“The quest for authenticity, combined with a growing awareness of our increasingly fragile physical and socio-political environments and increasing concern of the long-term effects of technology disruption, is raising major policy questions at the highest levels – particularly in these three major economic sectors: food; tourism; and culture,” Margaret said.

touRRoir will bring together leaders from three continents. It will be an opportunity for: business operators; food producers; farmers; tourism and hospitality operators; and cultural programmers in this country to meet food experts, cultural figures and travel industry specialists.

“Good Food Ireland’s touRRoir18 is particularly significant for Galway in this, its year as European Region of Gastronomy, and is the perfect destination for such discussion at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way,” said Elaine Donohue, European Region of Gastronomy programme co-ordinator.

Hosting touRRoir will enhance Galway’s ethos and positive focus on food, tourism and culture, she said.

Hall of fame

The programme for touRRoir18 includes a hall of fame collaborative dinner on Monday, April 23.

This recognises individuals, teams and destinations for vision, creativity and drive that has impacted on the cross-sector development of food, tourism and culture – boosting business or where soft power and ‘gastrodiplomacy’ initiatives have raised profile or changed an image.

Those honoured for 2018 will be inducted to the touRRoir hall of fame, determined by a global judging panel. Inaugural members included: Danish chef, Rene Redzepi of the renowned Noma restaurant; The Catalan Tourism Agency; and Lee Wook-Jung, a film producer/director from South Korea.

Acclaimed chefs will craft a menu inspired by Galway and the west of Ireland’s landscape and seascape on the Wild Atlantic Way, using Irish produce.

Cultural reception

The events on the second day will include a cultural reception and showcase dinner. It will be addressed by practitioners and experts in an exchange of experiences, expertise and learnings, according to the organisers.

“Keynotes and panel discussions from food travel experts, chefs, hospitality and travel industry professionals and key influencers in soft power and culture – as well as technology change agents – will bring latest trends, best-in-class thinking and cutting-edge innovation to the audience,” one organiser said.

An essential ingredient of touRRoir will be audience interactivity and debate. Strong creative audience participation is expected, both in the room and via social media.

The networking drinks and cultural reception followed by the showcase dinner will provide opportunities for chefs and food and drink producers to highlight the best of local Irish craft drinks, produce and cuisine.

The networking showcase dinner will exhibit what makes Ireland so desirable. Delegates and guests will be immersed in Ireland’s food culture as chefs and food producers collaborate to create a “unique Irish food experience”.

Chefs will cook in front of the attendance and there will be the chance to meet farmers, fishermen, butchers, bakers and cheese-makers and hear their stories as their produce is tasted.

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