Record numbers of tourists visited Scotch whisky distilleries in 2017, with 1.9 million trips made from all over the world.
The 2017 annual survey compiled by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) also revealed spending at visitor centres was up by 15.6% to £60.9m.
Visitor centres reported that the highest number of visitors came from Germany and the USA, followed by those from India, China and Japan.
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 breath-taking landscapes.
“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 year, distilleries have continued to invest in improving the visitor experience, introducing interactive experiences, upgrading infrastructure, and improving the knowledge of tour guides.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP said: “These record figures show the value of the industry and how well-regarded Scotch whisky is to tourists from the UK and abroad.
“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.”
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.”
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