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Spending doubles in six years

Whisky distillery visitor numbers hit record

Scotch whisky distilleryScotland’s whisky distilleries attracted a record number of visitors last year and have earned more than twice the amount spent years ago.

New research by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) found that distillery visits increased by 7% to 1.6 million between 2014 and last year. 

The SWA survey also found that visitors to distilleries spend on average around £25 per head during a visit. Total spend at distillery visitor centres in 2015 was £50 million, up from £27m in 2010.   

About half of Scotland’s 118 whisky distilleries are open to the public. Scotch Whisky companies have invested significantly in visitor centres and tourism facilities in recent years, with the success of whisky festivals such as Islay and Speyside also helping to attract new visitors to the country. 

Distilleries reported that the largest proportion of visitors came from Scotland and other parts of the UK, Germany, the USA and France – reflecting some of the largest markets for Scotch around the world.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association deputy chief executive, said: “Scotch Whisky distilleries offer high-quality and unique opportunities to visit the homes of some of Scotland’s most famous brands.

“It is testament to Scotch Whisky companies that visits have increased at a time when overall Scottish visitor numbers fell. This brings important benefits to the wider rural economy, as distillery visitors will also then be staying at the local B&B, visiting a local pub or café, or buying souvenirs of their stay in Scotland.”  

The findings are based on a survey of a sample of distillery visitor centres by the SWA.  Figures given represent paying customers visiting industry visitor centres in 2015. 

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