The Restaurants Association of Ireland

Restauranteurs welcome strong growth in overseas visitors

The Restaurants Association of Ireland welcomed the latest official data from the Central Statistics Office. The figures show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors (excluding fares) for the first nine months of the year rose by 17.5%, compared with the corresponding period of 2014. The data also shows that the number of trips in the key target market of holidaymakers rose by 19.6%. The figures are published in the CSO’s Tourism and Travel statistics.

Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, said; “The official figures confirm what many of our restaurant members have reported- that visitor numbers are up. When a tourist visits the country, they must eat out at least three times a day, and giving them positive experiences in our restaurants is a great way to secure a repeat visit.”

“Feedback we’re hearing from visitors is that Ireland is great value to dine out at the moment, and we’re trying to sustain that value with our campaign to keep the VAT on food and hospitality at 9%. Over 33,000 jobs have been created since the introduction of the VAT rate at 9%. Measures like the reduction of VAT in 2011, The Gathering, The Wild Atlantic Way and the newly established Ireland’s Ancient East work hand-in-hand to bring visitors into the country and keep them coming back.”

Mr Cummins added “This growth is of enormous importance for the country considering the contribution tourism makes to the wider economy by supporting 250,000 jobs. The Governments tourism policy statement includes targets to be achieved by 2025 of an extra 50,000 jobs in the tourism sector and 10million overseas visitors. These targets are attainable as long as the 9% VAT rate is set as a permanent VAT rate and much needed investment in tourism and hospitality training takes place over the coming years. We look forward to working with Minister Donohoe and our partners in the tourism industry to keep driving forward both overseas and domestic tourism.”

Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

The figures confirm significant growth in revenue across all our main market areas. In terms of the spend associated with overseas visits, all of our main markets grew in the first nine months of 2015 compared to 2014:

  • Great Britain increased by 9.2%;
  • North America increased by 27.1 %;
  • Mainland Europe increased by 18.5%;
  • Other long-haul markets increased by 9.3%

Foodie Towns 2015

foodie twon 2015, Irish food, Dublin food, Irish food tour, Delicious Dublin food tours

(L to R) CEO Foodie Towns Adrian Cummins & Pól ó Conghaile (Food writer)
at the launch of Foodie Towns 2015 – the search for Ireland’s premier foodie destination on Moore St, Dublin.
The top 10 Foodie Towns will be announced September 11th with the winner being announcnced in October.
Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) have launched the search for Ireland’s premier foodie destination today. The ‘Foodie Towns 2015’ competition will see towns and communities from all over the country battle it out to be named Ireland’s top town/destination for a foodie experience.  Foodie Towns is now in its second year and is now separate to the Irish Restaurant Awards due to its success in 2014.

The ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ award will recognise a town/destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences for locals and visitors alike. The winning Irish town/destination will have established a local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses. Plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by judges. Education, training, development and employment will be key components of the ultimate foodie destination.

Communities across the country are urged to get involved and work with local businesses, foodie groups, Chambers of Commerce and other working groups to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors. The greater the engagement between town officials, the community and the application process, the greater chances the town/destination has to win the coveted title.

Collaboration is vital for the success of any community based project, and will mean the difference between the winner and runners-up of the ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ competition. The more people that work together on this project, the greater the potential for prosperity and progress.

The winning town/destination will be crowned ‘Foodie Town 2015’. The winner will be announced in October (details to follow). Last year, Dingle was crowned the top foodie town in Ireland. Anthony Gray, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, says that the rich landscape of the Irish culinary scene will provide an exciting battleground for the competition.

“All over Ireland, local community initiatives are shaping the food, hospitality and tourism industry at ground level. This is our opportunity to recognise these towns and communities for the amazing work they are doing to put Ireland at the forefront of culinary tourism

 Irish people take great pride in their localities and the dynamic nature of the hospitality industry will serve to prove that there are destinations in every pocket of the country worth visiting.”

 The RAI look forward to working with towns and localities across the country, helping them drive new customers to their restaurants and food businesses.

The Application Process

  • Applicants can enter the competition by downloading the form available on and sending it in by post or email.
  • The application must be submitted by a minimum of 3 businesses or a business organisation/local authority/community group.
  • Deadline for receipt of applications is Monday 7th of September.
  • All applications will be reviewed, and a shortlist of 10 finalists will be announced on Friday 11th of September.
  • The 10 finalists will then be subject to a pre-arranged visit by an independent assessor.
  • A national public voting campaign will also be held with each of the 10 finalists canvassing the country to vote for their foodie town/destination.
  • The final decision will be made by combining the judges’ votes with the public vote which carry equal weight – both components account for 50% of the overall score a town/destination receives.
  • The ultimate ‘Foodie Town 2015’ will be announced in October.

For further information and details on the application process see: or contact the RAI office on 01 677 9901