Americans lead Spirit of Speyside visitors

24th September, 2015 by Kristiane Sherry

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has released visitor demographics and economic data following this year’s event, with American punters outnumbering other international attendees for the first time.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place in Scotland on May Bank Holiday weekend each year.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place in Scotland on May Bank Holiday weekend each year.

The annual whisky festival, held each May Bank Holiday, attracted 26,389 people from a record 34 countries, with international visitors accounting for 49% of attendees. Key countries represented included Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Qatar.

An independent report also showed that visitors stayed in Scotland for a longer period of time than in previous years.

The number of people who stayed for all five nights increased by 32% on 2014 figures, with overnight stays up 9%.

James Campbell, chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, said: “While we are delighted to continue to attract visitors from all around the world to Speyside, we are particularly pleased to see the Festival becoming such a draw for the USA, highlighting the event’s growing appeal among a global audience.

“The USA has become a key market for us and the fact that so many people are willing to travel such great distances to experience our unique offering speaks volumes for the hard work put in by everyone involved with the Festival. The region is already on the map because of its whisky; now we are spreading the word across the globe that Speyside offers visitors the warmest of welcomes and a first-class experience.”

Economic boost

An economic assessment impact conducted by Bellerby Economics founds that the amount spent locally in Speyside during the 2015 festival amounted to £1.36 million, with Scotland as a whole boosted by £1.58 million.

The separate industry standard measurement of the Gross Value Added (GVA), which calculates the knock-on impact of the visitor spend in the weeks and months following the Festival, totalled £0.64 million for Speyside and £0.85 million Scotland-wide.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, commented: “Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities and The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is a must for anyone looking to experience an authentic Scottish dram. To hear that the Festival has widened its international appeal and visitors are staying for longer is fantastic news and testament to the hard work and dedication of organisers in creating an unmissable and entertaining event programme.

“A rise in visitors from Scotland’s most important overseas market, America, is hugely welcome and fits perfectly with tourism trends we are seeing across the entire country.

“Food and drink tourism contributes tens of millions of pounds to the local economy, creates jobs and sustains communities. The Year of Food and Drink has helped put Scotland’s famous culinary delights on the map and events, like the Spirit of Speyside, have been a key part of that.”

The 2016 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is set to take place from 28 April to 2 May.


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