Visits top 1.6m in 2015
THE number of people visiting Scotch whisky distilleries increased by 7% to 1.6 million in 2015, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), despite overall visitor numbers of Scotland decreasing.
Since 2010, the SWA said distillery visits had increase by more than 20%, indicating the Scotch whisky industry’s growing pulling power as a tourist attraction.
Collectively, Scotch whisky distilleries rank among some of the most popular UK visitor attractions – on par with visits annually to Edinburgh Castle and London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.
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The SWA survey also found that visitors to distilleries spend on average around £25 per head during a visit. Total spend at distillery visitor centres in 2015 was £50 million, up from £27 million in 2010.
“Scotch Whisky distilleries offer the opportunity 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, said Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association deputy chief executive.
“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 café, or buying souvenirs of their stay in Scotland.”
Around half of Scotland’s 118 whisky distilleries are open to the public, with many investing in visitor centres and tourism facilities in recent years. Distilleries reported that the largest proportion of visitors came from Scotland and other parts of the UK, followed by Germany, the USA and France.