Tourism Ireland, the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination, recently unveiled its new three-year strategy to grow visitor numbers from Australia. The strategy sets out challenging and ambitious targets which will see, among other things, the number of Australian visitors to the island of Ireland grow by at least 20% by the end of 2017.
An Australian TV show, My Ireland with Colin, has lately been beaming images of Ireland, our spectacular scenery and our world-class food into the homes of more than one million Australians in a brand new cookery series fronted by a Dublin-born chef and restaurateur named Colin Fassnidge.
The show is a new two-part cookery series which sees Fassnidge return home to discover the changing face of food in Ireland. Channel 7 in Australia, working with Tourism Ireland in Sydney, produced the new series which has already aired to an audience of more than one million viewers.
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Colin has become a celebrity chef in his adopted Australia and runs two successful restaurants (Four in Hand and Fourteen) in Sydney. He is a guest judge on a popular cooking game show called My Kitchen Rules, which airs in Australia (also on Channel 7). Last autumn, he rode a Ducati 1200 around the island of Ireland, followed closely by his film crew capturing footage for My Ireland with Colin seeking out some of our culinary delights, local produce and hidden gems. He visited his family, went on a tour of his childhood haunts in Dublin and re-discovered the spectacular scenery of Ireland.
Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “We were delighted to work with Channel 7, to bring Colin Fassnidge and his crew to Ireland to film this brand new TV series. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get positive exposure in Australia, showcasing Irish food at its best. The island of Ireland is becoming increasingly well-known for its food offering, with a reputation for high quality, natural produce used in both traditional and innovative dishes. My Ireland with Colin is also showcasing our spectacular scenery to more than one million people, helping to inspire ‘foodies’ and prospective holidaymakers to come and discover the culinary delights of Ireland for themselves.”
Diane added: “Building on the strong performance of recent years, and the increased number of one-stop flights via the Middle East, we have set challenging targets for the 2015-2017 period. I am confident that our new, focused strategy will deliver on the targets we have set for growth in Australian visitors, between now and 2017.”
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It’s great to see Irish people all over the world helping to promote their home country as a premier holiday destination and as a blossoming Food Tourism destination. With our food producers and chefs here in Ireland preparing some of the finest food in the world and our national tourism promoters and partners investing in international advertising of that fact, I really believe we are on the cusp of a new dawn in Irish Tourism – Food Tourism.
And like I always say, A Rising Tide will Lift all Boats. Well done Colin!