Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Scotch Whisky tourism soars

Published:  01 August, 2018

Scotch Whisky tourism soared in 2017 with a record number of visitors from across the world visiting the country’s distilleries throughout the year.

The total number of visitors increased 11.4% to a record 1.9 million, with the highest number of visitors from Germany and the US followed by India, China and Japan, according to research released today by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

In addition, spending at visitor centres was up 15.6% to £60.9 million - on average more than £32 was spent during each trip to a visitor centre, up almost 4% year-on-year and by £11 per visit in 2010.

Scotch Whicky tourism had benefitted from “significant investment” by distilleries in the past 12 months to improve the visitor experience, said SWA chief executive Karen Betts.

“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,” she said.

Improvements introduced included interactive experiences to extending opening hours, upgrading infrastructure to meet demand and improving the knowledge of tour guides, added Betts.

She warned however that future industry investment in further growth would be put at risk if tax rises further in the autumn Budget.

“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,” she said.

At the end of June, the SWA called for zero tariffs on imports of whisky making materials in the Brexit negotiations.

In the call to the UK government for “unfettered” access to the EU market, the SWA said it wanted glass, cork and cereal imports from the EU to be tariff-free post-Brexit.