Visitor numbers at distilleries rise by an impressive 18 per cent

A distiller has reported an 18 per cent rise in visitors for the summer season.

Diageo is toasting a successful 2017 at its distillery visitor centres as it joined the national tourism organisation at the leading global event for the travel industry in London yesterday (Monday).

Visits to Blair Athol, Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Royal Lochnagar, Cragganmore, Cardhu, Glen Ord, Clynelish, Talisker, Oban, Caol Ila and Lagavulin rose by almost a fifth from April to September this year over the same period in 2016, while sales at the distilleries increased by 29 per cent.

Katie Macrae, visitor centre marketing manager at Diageo said: ‘We are delighted to be joining VisitScotland at the World Travel Market 2017. We are excited to continue our growth in the whisky tourism market as well as contributing to Scotland’s tourism as a whole.

‘With our recent announcement of reopening Brora distillery, Port Ellen distillery and two adjoining visitor centres in 2020 we are maximising all opportunities.’

The Dalwhinnie Distillery

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: ‘Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities, with visitors from all over the world coming to our shores to experience an authentic Scottish dram, which includes visiting distilleries and following our popular whisky trails.’

The twelve Diageo-owned distilleries are marketed under the banner, Discovering Distilleries, which joins eleven other businesses on VisitScotland’s stand at World Travel Market (WTM).

Taking place at ExCel London unwil Wednesday, more than 51,000 industry professionals are expected to attend WTM 2017. The event allows the tourism body and its industry partners to show travel trade professionals from around the globe exactly what the country has to offer.

It is the first time Discovering Distilleries – Diageo will be exhibiting at World Travel Market and will be joined by Flybe, New Lanark Mills World Heritage Site, Timberbush Tours Limited and East Scotland Tourism Partnership, also making their debut.

East Scotland Tourism Partnership is a unique tourism partnership between the four local authorities: Angus, Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Fife. It was formed 18 months ago to create a new marketing destination and capitalise on the opportunities presented by the opening of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee in the second half of 2018.

The VisitScotland stand will also see a special appearance of The Solheim Cup trophy to celebrate the world’s biggest female golf event returning to Scotland in 2019 when it is played at Gleneagles. Featuring the leading female golf professionals from Europe and the US, in a format that mirrors The Ryder Cup, the event will see more than 100,000 spectators descend on the Perthshire venue with millions more watching the TV broadcasts around the world.

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead (Picture: VisitScotland)

Eight international golf tour operators have already been appointed to sell packages to international visitors with a focus on recruiting other interested tour operators at World Travel Market.
The remaining businesses on the VisitScotland stand are:
· Cashel Travel – tour company based in Edinburgh;
· Classic Britain – tour company, based in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire;
· The Black Watch Castle and Museum, Perthshire;
· Historic Environment Scotland;
· Spirit of Scotland Show, Edinburgh;
· Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness;
· Strathmore Hotels, which includes the Alexandra and Ben Nevis hotels in Fort William, the Nethybridge Hotel near Aviemore, The Royal Hotel in Oban and The Salutation Hotel in Perth.
Malcolm Roughead added: ‘As the leading global event for the travel industry, World Travel Market is a fantastic platform for our partners to showcase their business in front of an international audience.
‘Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and we work closely with communities and businesses to develop the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of every region in Scotland.’
Suzanne Cumiskey, business development projects officer, Perth &Kinross Council, said: ‘The East Scotland Tourism Partnership is working together to maximise the business growth opportunities the opening of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee in the second half of 2018 will bring.
‘Part of the £1.5 billion Dundee Waterfront Development, the aim is to develop an integrated regional tourism product which encourages business growth. By working collaboratively the partnership aims to increase the volume and value of tourism into the region, increasing the length of stay, visitor spend and repeat visitation.’