Record numbers attracted to Scotch whisky distilleries

The Scotch Whisky Association recorded 1.9 million visits to distilleries in 2017 – 11.4% up on the previous year.

Spending at visitor centres rose by 15.6% to £60.9 million.

The highest number of visitors came from Germany and the US, followed by those from India, China and Japan.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts described the figures as “great news for the industry and great news for Scotland”.

She said: “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 added: “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.”

Scotland’s tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop welcomed the survey results.

She told the BBC: “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.”