Belfast Telegraph

January: Year of food and drink kicks off as Ryanair returns and student projects are ramped up

Biggest business stories of 2016

The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink - a celebration of local produce organised by Tourism NI - launches with the aim of tempting tourists and residents to spend more.

Business Telegraph supports the initiative by dedicating two pages a week to local food.

A spokesman for the former Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment said at the time: "Food tourism already generates more than £350m each year to the local economy, but we believe there is significant room for further growth."

INTERNATIONAL markets face a tough start to the year thanks to a 7% slump in Chinese stock and growing tensions in the Middle East between oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Iran. Ultimately, it is merely the start of a tumultuous year for the markets.

BUSINESS Telegraph reveals that Junction One in Co Antrim and The Outlet in Banbridge, Co Down, are to be sold in deals worth around £40m. We reveal that the retail parks are to be acquired by Lotus Group in Banbridge.

BELFAST'S student housing provision enters a rapid phase of development, starting in January when five planned developments are presented to Belfast City Council.

FRENCH firm Stargime's £20m plans to build a new office development in Belfast are thrown into serious doubt after an independent report suggests construction should not go ahead.

BAKERY chain Greggs continues its roll-out across the province with more new stores entering the planning process, including Donegall Square West in Belfast, the home of the former Spinning Wheel.

BUDGET airline Ryanair returns to Belfast as it sets up a base at Belfast International Airport, launching six new routes in the short-term and vowing to operate as many as 40 within the next two to three years.

Belfast Telegraph