SWA predicts great year ahead for Scotch Whisky tourism
28 Feb 2018
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is predicting a strong year
for Whisky Tourism as increased numbers of visitors flock to
distilleries to see the unique heritage and age-old practices of
Scotch Whisky production.
With a record 1.7 million visitors from across the globe
travelling to more than 40 distillery visitor centres in 2016, they
are playing an increasingly important and valuable role in the
Scottish tourism sector and are on a par with other large tourist
attractions like Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of
The increase has not only been driven by growing interest in
Scotch Whisky - which last year announced its highest ever export
figures - but also due to investment in new visitor centres and
Recent new attractions for visitors to Scotland include the The
Isle of Raasay Distillery, Clydeside Distillery in Glasgow and a
whisky tasting bar made out of a recycled mash tun by the
Abercrombie coppersmiths, at Blair Athol Distillery. The new
Macallan distillery and visitor centre is due to open in June 2018
at Easter Elchies in Speyside.
Figures released recently by the Association of Scottish Visitor
Attractions highlighted a boost to whisky tourism in 2017,
including Blair Athol Distillery Visitor Centre (+18%), Caol Ila
Distillery Visitor Centre (+32%), Glen Ord Distillery Visitor
Centre (+28%) and Kingsbarns Distillery (+30%), and The Scotch
Whisky Experience in Edinburgh (16%).
Speaking as the contribution of the Scotch Whisky industry to
tourism in Scotland was debated in the Scottish Parliament
yesterday, Karen Betts, Chief Executive at the Scotch Whisky
Association, said the full 2017 Scotch Whisky tourism figures will
be published in the coming months, and she expects those to
demonstrate even more improvement.
Karen Betts said: "It's fabulous to see Scottish distilleries
attracting more and more visitors from the UK and all over the
world. There has been a 25% increase in visits to Scotch Whisky
distilleries since 2010 and we fully expect this trend to continue
in the year ahead.
"Scotch Whisky producers have invested in distillery visitor
centres, their staff and shops to ensure their guests get the best
possible experience. As well as benefitting our industry, the
increasing number of visitors is great news for the wider Scottish
economy, particularly in rural areas, with visitors to Scotch
Whisky distilleries staying in local hotels, eating high quality
meals in pubs and restaurants, and shopping for local
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: "Whisky
is one of Scotland's most valuable commodities with people from all
over the world coming to our shores to experience an authentic
Scottish dram. A culinary icon, it remains as important as ever to
the tourism industry with one in five visitors making a trip to a
whisky distillery during their stay and even more visiting a bar,
pub or restaurant to sample our renowned national drink.
"Whisky tourism is a vital part of local tourism for many areas
in Scotland, such as Speyside or Islay who are renowned for their
links to the national drink, and help draw thousands of visitors to
the country, creating jobs and sustaining communities. It's
fantastic to see the industry recognising the rewards of whisky
tourism by investing and improving the visitor experience."