Scotch Whisky distilleries attract around 1.5 million visitors
26 May 2015
Visitors spend £50m at distilleries
Scotch Whisky distilleries are attracting more visitors from the
UK and across the globe than ever before, with more than 1.5
million people coming to see how the iconic product is made last
A new survey by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), 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.
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.
The findings of the SWA'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.
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.
"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."
Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chairman, said: "There is clearly a
growing appetite amongst visitors to sample the secrets behind
Scotland's national drink and with the greatest concentration of
whisky distilleries in the world right here on our doorstep there
is certainly plenty to enjoy.
"Research shows time and time again how popular distilleries are
with visitors and with five distinct whisky regions, each producing
their own unique characteristics and flavours, every visit offers a
different taste of the county's important whisky tourism
"With the Year of Food and Drink well underway and this year's
Whisky Month celebrations nearing an end, I hope Scots and visitors
to Scotland, novices and whisky enthusiasts alike, continue
discovering our distilleries in 2015 and beyond as there is no
better place to experience an authentic Scottish dram -
Scott Fraser, Tomatin Distillery visitor centre manager, said:
"Our visitor numbers are increasing, as is the amount people spend
when they come to see us. We've completely revived our tour
offering and the feedback has been brilliant, both from private
tourists and an increasing number of coach tour business. The brand
has been performing well in the UK and in our export markets and
this has had a direct impact on our visitor numbers. We're
delighted that tourists are now not only choosing to visit Tomatin
Distillery because of its convenient location, but also because
they now know and love the brand."
Mickey Heads, Ardbeg Distillery manager said: "Distilleries like
Ardbeg have become a place of pilgrimage for the Single Malt Whisky
faithful and these findings echo the growth in visitor figures we
have experienced. We pride ourselves on being one of the island's
fastest growing distilleries.
"We firmly believe Ardbeg encapsulates all that Islay has to
offer, in all its raw natural beauty. This year marks Ardbeg's
200th Anniversary and we look forward to sharing the true spirit of
this whisky with many more visitors and raising a dram to the next
NOTES TO EDITORS
The findings are based on a survey of a sample of distillery
visitor centres by the SWA.
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) was the
source of number of visitors to other UK attractions to allow
comparisons used in the news release http://alva.org.uk/details.cfm?p=423
ONS figures on tourism
Travel Trends Annual Publications
With media queries please contact SWA head of communications
Rosemary Gallagher firstname.lastname@example.org 0131 222 9230 or 07432 705