Scotch Whisky Tourism enjoys best year ever
01 Aug 2018
Scotch Whisky tourism saw record numbers of visitors in 2017,
with 1.9million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries from tourists
from all over the world as well as from across the UK.
The 2017 annual survey compiled by the Scotch Whisky Association
(SWA) also revealed spending at visitor centres was up by 15.6% to
Visitor centres reported that the highest number of visitors
came from Germany and the USA, followed by those from India, China
Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive,
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. And it's a wonderful story: part traditional, part modern
and set among Scotland's communities and in its breathtaking
"We will continue to work closely and collaboratively with
tourist organisations, local councils and the Scottish Government
to ensure that Scotland's tourists have a memorable time visiting
our country and experiencing all it has to offer.
"Whisky tourism is on the up, but tourists are often surprised
that Scotch is more expensive here in the UK than it is in their
home countries. They are surprised to know that £3 in every £4
spent on a bottle of Scotch in the UK goes to the government in
tax. If tax rises further in the Autumn Budget, this will put at
risk further industry investment in future growth."
Over the past 12 months distilleries have continued to recognise
the value of Scotch Whisky tourism, making significant investments
to improve the visitor experience - from introducing interactive
experiences to extending opening hours, upgrading infrastructure to
meet demand and improving the knowledge of tour guides.
New and existing visitor centres are also planned to further
tell the story of how Scotch is made, and to welcome visitors to
the world of Scotch Whisky.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External
Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP welcomed the survey results. She
said: "These record figures show the value of the industry and how
well-regarded Scotch whisky is to tourists from the UK and
"As we are seeing innovative expansions to the visitor
experience at distilleries around Scotland, I am confident we will
see a further increase in visitors, which is great for our tourism
sector and the wider economy."
The increase in visits to 1.9million is an 11.4% rise year on
year and represents 45% growth in popularity since 2010. The SWA
survey also details that on average over £32 was spent during each
trip to a visitor centre, up almost 4% year on year and by £11 per
visit in 2010.
The success story of Scotch Whisky tourism has also positioned
the industry as one of leading UK attractions. The National Museum
of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle are the top attractions outside
London, both attracting over 2 million visits in 2017, just 100,000
more than those drawn to distilleries.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of
VisitScotland, 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.
"Scotch whisky is a culinary and cultural icon and one of
Scotland's most valuable commodities, with visitors from across the
globe coming to our shores to experience an authentic Scottish
dram. It is a vital part of local tourism as not only do
distilleries benefit from the draw of 'the water of life' but so
too do the surrounding towns and villages. VisitScotland continues
to work with the Scotch Whisky industry to promote events, trails
and films associated with Scotland's national drink."