The Taste of Tourism Summit, organised by Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, was held last week at Culloden Estate, with the event attracting over 200 businesses.
A range of speakers from Ireland and overseas were on hand to share their experiences of using food and drink to attract new customers, improve profits and enhance their reputations.
Irish chef Catherine Fulvio, who runs the award winning Ballyknocken House and Cookery School in Co Wicklow, said: "It was a truly inspirational day which provided a chance to network, to learn and to taste some of Northern Ireland's best produce. A common underlying theme was the emphasis on the quality of the produce available locally and appreciating the value that it brings to the tourism industry, providing visitors with memorable moments.
"I was joined by speakers from all sides of the table and the event was practical and informative with some good old fashioned advice, as well as looking at future trends. I for one came away with fresh ideas and was reminded of basic rules that apply to good customer service around food. The role of food in the overall development of tourism for a destination cannot be underestimated."
Award winning journalist and commentator Eoghan Corry added: "Catching the latest food fashion is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to increase tourism numbers and spend. The problem is that everyone knows. At ITB, the biggest tourism fair in the world, last month there were nearly 1,000 different regions and nations extolling the value of their food.
"Places that you would not associate with culinary artistry such as Lithuania are stepping up to the plate. Food is cool. The prime time spots that used to be occupied by travel programmes are now occupied by travel programmes masquerading as food programmes."
Attendees at this year’s Summit had the pleasure of meeting and sharing in the experience of renowned Michelin star chef, Jun Tanaka, head chef and owner of The Ninth.