Toast to success as Whisky visitors provide major tourism boost

Spend on distillery visits has almost doubled in five years

DISTILLERY VISITOR CENTRES are providing a massive boost to tourism with more people than ever before flocking to their doors.

That is according to a survey conducted by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), who say that it revealed there are now 1.5million people visiting distilleries each year – spending in the region of £50million in the process.

These figures place distillery visits in the ranks of national attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish National Gallery – and while the bulk of those visiting are native Scots, other parts of the UK, the United States, Germany and France also features high in visitor numbers.

Five years ago spend at distillery visitor centre tours and shops was around £27million – so the most recent figures represent a near 100% increase.

Julie Hesketh-Laird is deputy chief executive of the SWA. She said: “During Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink – and in particular during the ‘whisky month’ in May – our survey shows just how many people want to visit distilleries to see how whisky is made, try a dram and buy a bottle to take home to family and friends.

“Every year distilleries are attracting more visitors from the UK and other parts of the globe – while producers are investing in their centres and shops to give visitors the best possible experience.”

Moray and Speyside is host to the largest concentration of whisky distilleries in the world – with many of those offering greatly improved visitors centres that have made the ‘whisky trail’ a magnet for visitors.

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “There is a growing appetite amongst visitors to sample the secrets behind Scotland’s national drink – and with the greatest concentration of distilleries in the world here on our doorstep there is plenty to enjoy.”