Record high for Scotch whisky tourism

1st August, 2018 by Owen Bellwood

Scotch whisky tourism reached an all-time high in 2017 as 1.9 million people visited distilleries across Scotland.


The number of people visiting Scotch whisky distilleries grew by more than 190,000 in 2017

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) compiled the figures as part of its annual survey, which found visitor numbers have risen by more than 190,000 – representing an 11.4% year-on-year rise.

The increase in visitor numbers at distilleries across Scotland represents a 45% growth in the popularity of Scotch distilleries since 2010.

Results from the SWA’s 2017 annual survey also revealed that spending at visitor centres was up by 15.6% to £60.9 million, with the average visitor spending £32 on each trip – a 4% year-on-year increase.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, said: “These record figures are great news for the industry and great news for Scotland.

“These are exciting times. Scotch whisky distilleries have invested – and continue to invest – hugely in providing world-class visitor facilities at their sites all over Scotland, and they are collaborating in establishing new whisky trails and finding new ways of telling the story of Scotch to British and foreign visitors alike. It’s a wonderful story: part traditional, part modern and set among Scotland’s communities and in its breathtaking landscapes.”

According to the SWA, visitor centres reported that the highest number of guests came from Germany and the US, followed by those from India, China and Japan.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of Visit Scotland, said: “We’re delighted that the popularity of Scotch whisky distilleries is continuing to grow with our visitors, which reflects the hard work and investment by the industry in delivering a world-class experience.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the booming interest in Scotch whisky helped the economic impact of tourism in Moray reach £128.9 million (US$169m) in 2017.

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