THE CONTINUING ROLE of the Whisky industry in developing tourism in Moray/Speyside and throughout Scotland has been highlighted in a new report.
More visits to distilleries took place over the last year than ever before while the total spend by those visiting them rose to around £50million – much of that along the Malt Whisky Trail.
The report came from the Scotch Whisky Association whose deputy chief executive, Julie Hesketh-Laird, said: “Scotch Whisky distilleries offer high-quality and unique opportunities to visit the homes of some of Scotland’s most famous brands. It is testament to Scotch whisky companies that visits have increased at a time when overall Scottish visitor numbers fell.
“This brings important benefits to the wider rural economy, as distillery visitors will also then be staying at the local B&B, visiting a local pub or cafe, or buying souvenirs of their stay in Scotland.”
Last night Highlands and Moray MSP Douglas Ross placed a motion before the Scottish Parliament congratulating the industry on their continued success.
He said: “I welcome the publication of this report by the Scotch Whisky Association which highlights the fact that Scottish distilleries hosted more visits than ever before last year, showing that they are very much on the radar for domestic and international tourists.
“With many of the famous brands being based here in Moray it’s clear that distilleries play an important role in developing tourism and boosting the wider local economy.
“The report highlights that in 2015 alone the total spend by visitors to distilleries throughout Scotland was £50 million and many of these companies have made significant investments to their visitor centres and tourism facilities which is obviously appreciated by the customers.
“With so many distilleries on our doorstep across Moray, the fact that collectively Scotch Whisky distilleries rank among some of the most popular UK visitor attractions is testament to the high quality of the products they make and the unique opportunities available to visit the homes of some of Scotland’s most famous brands.
“The continuing success of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which plays host annually to over 50 distilleries clearly demonstrates the vital role the industry plays in helping to attract new visitors to the country and to Moray.”