A new survey by the Scotch Whisky Association carried out for the Whisky month of May in Scotland's Year of Food and Drink, reveals that more than 1.5m people were attracted to distillery visitor centres across the country in 2014, up around 6% on the previous year. And this was an increase of more than 15% from just under 1.3m in 2010.
|Visitors to Scotch whisky distilleries now spending over £50m|
This means Scotch whisky distilleries collectively, in terms of visitor numbers, are among some of the best-known UK attractions, including Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish National Gallery, Tate Britain, Stonehenge and London Zoo.
The largest proportion of visitors came from Scotland and other parts of the UK, Germany, USA and France. The source of visitors reflects some of the largest markets for Scotch. The USA is the biggest market by value for Scotch, followed by France and Germany ranks at number five.
Visitors to distilleries spent a total of almost £50 million last year on tours and in their shops and cafes, up from £27m in 2010. The average spend per visitor last year was around £32.50. The increase in spend in recent years reflects investment by producers to enhance their visitor centres and to provide a wider range of offerings, such as special bottlings, tailored tasting and blending sessions. Increased spending will have a positive impact on local communities around distilleries and the wider economy.
Commenting on the news, Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association Deputy Chief Executive, said: "During Scotland's Year of Food and Drink, and particularly during the Whisky month of May, our survey shows just how many people want to visit distilleries to see how Scotch Whisky is made, try a dram and buy a bottle to take home to family and friends. Every year, distilleries are attracting more visitors from the UK and all parts of the globe."
She went on to say: "Scotch whisky producers are investing in their centres and shops to give visitors the best possible experience. As well as providing another source of income for producers, the increasing number of visitors is good for the wider Scottish economy. Visitors are spending more at distilleries and are likely to being doing the same with other businesses, including hotels and restaurants. It also helps put Scotland on the map."
The findings of the Scotch Whisky Association’s survey reflect figures published earlier this month by the Office of National Statistics showing tourism visits to Scotland increased by 5% between 2013 and last year, with visitors spending more than before.
Source: Scotch Whisky Association