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Rise in Diageo distillery visits as Scotch Whisky Association reports record levels of Scotch tourism

As the Scotch Whisky Association reveals that a record 1.7 million tourists visited scotch distilleries last year, Diageo sees strongest growth in tourists visiting from China and Russia, increasing up to 154%

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Diageo Whiskey tour

Today the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has announced its latest tourism figures to scotch distilleries. The figures indicate that a record 1.7 million tourists visited scotch distilleries last year, up almost 8% on 2015.  Scotch’s reputation for superb quality and distinctive flavour continues to win over new fans from around the globe, as tourists come to sample the world’s favourite whisky and Scotland’s fastest growing export.

At Diageo distilleries, figures show China and Russia as the fastest growing markets in ‘scotch tourism’. With over 400,000 people visiting a Diageo distillery in the last 12 months alone, more than double what it was eight years ago, the number of Chinese visitors has also grown 154% in admissions and revenue. While Chinese tourist numbers remain fewer than those from Germany, USA and France (the top three tourist markets), Chinese spend per head is nearly a third higher.

On the ground in China the trend continues, with over a hundred new whisky bars or collector’s clubs opening in the country in the last year. The heritage, provenance and craft credentials of scotch are important factors in locals’ love of the liquid, with Chinese consumers showing a thirst for whisky knowledge and a desire to refine their appreciation.

 Diageo figures also highlight Russia as an emerging scotch tourist market, with admissions and revenues from Russian tourists at Diageo distilleries up 146% year on year and the average spend per Russian tourist similar to that of the Chinese.

Lady pouring whiskey

Diageo Scotland Director, Ewan Andrew, said: “Scotch is not only Scotland’s most valuable export industry, it is the world’s most popular spirit, attracting thousands of international visitors to Scotland every year. The Scotch Whisky Association’s latest annual survey found that visits have increased by almost a quarter since 2010.

 “As demand for premium products and interest in scotch grows in China and Russia, tourists from these countries are visiting distilleries not only to purchase whisky straight from the distillery, but to discover the expertise and craft that goes into making every bottle.”