European Parliament campaign aims to boost spirits tourismBy Owen Bellwood
A new campaign to increase spirits tourism across the European Union (EU) has been launched at the European Parliament.
The interactive online campaign features the hashtags #SpiritsTourism and #SpiritOfEurope and strives to increase tourism at distilleries and spirit-producing regions across the EU.
MEP István Ujhelyi, vice-chair of the committee on transport and tourism, said: “Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination. The value of spirits tourism is especially visible in rural areas where jobs are created and local economies are boosted as local tourism grows.
“In our work in the transport and tourism committee we welcome the fact that the spirits sector contributes actively to addressing many of the economic and employment challenges we are aiming to tackle in the upcoming period.”
According to trade association Spirits Europe, distilleries across Europe welcomed record numbers of visitors in 2018 – two million visitors to Scotch whisky distilleries, 1.6m spirit tourists in France and nearly one million in Ireland.
The campaign hopes that by making distilleries tourist destinations they can become “positive agents of change”, driving demand for local services and fuelling local economic growth.
Ulrich Adam, director general of Spirits Europe, added: “It’s not just whiskey, but also craft and niche spirits all across Europe that are drawing in visitors and giving back to their local community. By attracting visitors from around the world, distilleries are acting as ambassadors of their countries, their unique cultural heritage and culinary traditions.
“Whether global companies with global brands or small craft distillers, they are all rooted locally and visitors to them are bringing a much-needed boost to local and rural economies.”
During a launch event for the campaign, Spirits Europe announced its signature to the European Tourism Manifesto, a document that highlights the policy priorities for the EU’s tourism sector in the coming years.