Tourism numbers at Scotch Whisky visitor centres in Scotland flew past 2 million in 2022 for the first time ever, marking a promising recovery to pre-pandemic levels for the industry. This increase strengthens Scotch Whisky visitor centres as Scotland’s top tourist attraction, with a massive 114% increase in foot traffic compared to 2021. Not just that, visitors are also spending more, with an 8.65% rise in spending per person, totalling over £85 million across Scotland’s whisky regions.
The resurgence of post-pandemic international travel has hugely contributed to the Scotch Whisky tourism revival. Key export markets for Scotch Whisky, including the US, Germany, and France, saw their citizens among the top five visiting demographics. The UK itself accounted for over half of all visitors (51%), surpassing 1 million visitors for the first time.
Scotch Whisky visitor centres provide employment to over 1,100 people, with many located in rural areas where is can be harder to find work. Over the past decade, the industry has invested more than £300 million in Scotch Whisky tourism, leading to the establishment of new visitor centres and the enhancement of existing ones to meet visitor expectations.
Mark Kent, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, underscores the vital role of Scotch Whisky in boosting Scotland’s global appeal and driving tourism. He emphasises the importance of sustaining this growth through continued investment and infrastructure improvements, all while maintaining a strong and ongoing relationship with the Scottish Government. According to Kent, “Scotch Whisky visitor centres are a key part of the attraction for tourists, with wider benefits seen through regional employment and increased visitor spend in hospitality and accommodation. Tourism is growing for Scotch Whisky, but it needs to be sustainable growth.”