Northern Ireland

Food tourism should be 'key export industry' - Bob McCoubrey

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Image caption Food and drink expenditure by external visitors was in the region of £140m in 2012

The Northern Ireland Executive should prioritise food tourism as a key export industry in 2017, a leading Belfast restaurant owner has said.

Bob McCoubrey, the owner of the Mourne Seafood Bar, said the executive "needs to focus".

"They need to make life easier for independents in Belfast and Northern Ireland to survive," he added.

Business owners have been reflecting on a year-long celebration of food and drink in Northern Ireland.

Mr McCoubrey told the BBC's Inside Business programme that the initiative, where every month was dedicated to a unique foodstuff or beverage, "ticked the box" for tourism.

"Hopefully we will get more people travelling here because there's a lot more to Northern Ireland food than potatoes, bacon and cabbage," he said.

Inside Business will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster at 13:30 GMT on Sunday 18 December.

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