On Friday, Northern Irelands Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster hosted a reception in London to mark St Patrick’s Day and to celebrate recent business and tourism successes.
The reception, held on HMS Belfast, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, was attended by potential investors, business contacts, particularly food and drink buyers, tourism industry representatives and the media.
Speaking at the reception, Arlene Foster said: “2012 Our Time Our place was a great year for Northern Ireland and 2013 promises to continue this success with the G8 gathering of world leaders in my own home county of Fermanagh, the World Police and Fire Games and Londonderry as the 2013 UK City of Culture.”
The guests on board HMS Belfast were treated to food and drink from Northern Ireland companies including UK Great Taste Award winners.
The Minister said: “2012 was again a highlight year with Northern Ireland winning Supreme Champion in the finals of the Great Taste Awards for the second year running, and 46 food and drink companies racked up a record 195 gold stars at the Awards.
“I also welcome Tesco’s recent announcement that they will double the amount of fresh meat they source in Northern Ireland.”
“Our companies, both large and small, are now competing and winning because of the quality, wholesomeness and originality of their products and the strength of their commitment to traceability from ‘farm to fork’. As a result, Northern Ireland is among the biggest suppliers of food and drink to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.”
Highlighting Northern Ireland’s strengths as a location for inward investment, Arlene Foster added: “Northern Ireland has come a long way. It has an aerospace sector which is thriving and innovative; is a centre of excellence for financial services technology; and is developing itself as a hub for legal processing. We have a growing reputation as a great place to do business and, through the work of Invest Northern Ireland, continue to attract inward investment.”