Scotch Whisky tourism saw record numbers of visitors in 2017, with 1.9million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries from tourists from all over the world as well as from across the UK.
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.
Over the past 12 months distilleries have continued to recognise the value of Scotch Whisky tourism, making significant investments to improve the visitor experience- from introducing interactive experiences to extending opening hours, upgrading infrastructure to meet demand and improving the knowledge of tour guides.
New and existing visitor centres are alsoplannedto further tell the story of how Scotch is made,and to welcome visitors to the world of Scotch Whisky.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP welcomed the survey results.
The increase in visits to 1.9 million is an 11.4% rise year on year and represents 45% growth in popularity since 2010. The SWA survey also details that on average over £32 was spent during each trip to a visitor centre, up almost 4% year on year and by £11 per visit in 2010.
Thesuccess story of Scotch Whisky tourism hasalsopositioned the industry as oneof leading UK attractions.
The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle are the top attractions outside London,both attracting over 2 million visits in 2017, just 100,000 more than those drawn to distilleries.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of Visit Scotland, 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.
Scotland is home to 122 operating malt distilleries