Wir lieben Whisky - Our distilleries score with our Euro rivals

Over half of German visitors visited a distillery while they are in Scotland (51%), a bigger proportion than any other nation. The figures are revealed in the Scotland Visitor Survey 2023, commissioned by national tourism organisation, VisitScotland.

Industry news
Published: 14/06/2024

Over half of German visitors visited a distillery while they are in Scotland (51%), a bigger proportion than any other nation. The figures are revealed in the Scotland Visitor Survey 2023, commissioned by national tourism organisation, VisitScotland.

Germany is the largest European tourism market for Scotland, with 343,000 visits and £247 million in spend last year, according to the latest International Passenger Survey.

More than a third of all visitors from Europe to Scotland go to distilleries (38%), the latest Scotland Visitor Survey has revealed.

Scotch Whisky visitor centres collectively rose to become the top visitor attraction in Scotland in 2022, with footfall more than doubling (114%) compared to 2021, according to The Scotch Whisky Association.

More than £85m was spent in total at sites across Scotland’s five whisky regions in 2022, up 90% since 2010, employing over 1,100 people at Scotch Whisky visitor centres (Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside).

With the global food tourism market expected to be worth £2500 billion by 2032*, VisitScotland in partnership with Scotland Food and Drink have launched a new industry guide to help Scottish businesses grow and develop their food and drink visitor offering. Including examples of businesses who have had success offering whisky and food pairings, master distiller talks and locally sourced spirits to customers.

Visitors from Europe made 2,331,000 visits last year to Scotland and spent £1.4 billion, accounting for 58% of all inbound visits and 39% of international spend.

Germany has direct flights from Munich, Dusseldorf and Cologne to Edinburgh, with a new route from Stuttgart in 2024.

While Berlin and Frankfurt have direct flights to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

VisitScotland’s Senior Marketing Insight Manager, Jacqui Souter said: “Whatever happens on the pitch this summer, we can raise a glass to the success of whisky distilleries as attractions and the high numbers of international visitors that have been coming to Scotland.

“Food and drink are now a significant consideration for visitors choosing destinations and an integral part of their stay in Scotland, which presents an opportunity for businesses.”

“This rise in food related travel is a global trend, driven by increasing consumer interest in food and drink combined with a desire for more unique and authentic travel experiences.”

Rosebank Distillery is the rebuild of the ‘King of the Lowlands’, only recently reopened on June 7th after being closed for over thirty years.

Liz Gunn, Brand Homes, Head of Sales & Marketing (Whisky), Ian Macleod Distillers said: “Glengoyne and Rosebank are two of Scotland’s finest single malt whiskies, produced at beautiful distilleries close to Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.  We’re well-placed for international visitors.  At Glengoyne, which has been open to guests for many years, we welcome thousands of overseas visitors each year, with particularly high numbers from Germany.”

“Guests hear the tales of the families who have lived and worked there for generations, and they discover the history of our distillery buildings and their beautiful surroundings.”  

Lagg Distillery on the Isle of Arran’s Visitor Experience Manager Vicki Sturgeon said: “Here at Lagg Distillery we welcome a large number of tourists from Germany every year.  All year round we welcome nationalities from all over the globe to celebrate our Lagg Single Malt and local culture with us, but especially visitors from Germany.

“We have a fantastic distribution partner for our Single Malts in Germany and over the years they have helped Arran Single Malt to become one of Germany’s most loved Single Malts, and now we can welcome them to Lagg too. We thoroughly enjoy welcoming our German visitors to experience what it’s like to taste our whisky in the place where it is made – a sensory experience like no other! It’s a phenomenal exchange of whisky and friendship as our visitors get to spend some time with our team learning about what makes Scotch whisky and the Isle of Arran such a magical experience.”

Fiona Oliva, Senior Operations Manager Scotch & Irish Brand Homes, Suntory Global Spirits said: "With five distilleries across Scotland, our unique brand homes are dedicated to showcasing our rich heritage and craftsmanship. Across our sites, each distillery offers our guests an immersive experience where they can learn about the history, production process and the art of whisky making.

“We welcome visitors from all over the world and are excited to see Scotch Whisky tourism going from strength to strength.  Whether it’s at Laphroaig or Bowmore on the iconic isle of Islay, or at our mainland distilleries Glen Garioch and Auchentoshan, each of our brand homes are full of charm and fascinating history that we are delighted to share with our global consumers."

The Clydeside Distillery’s Visitor Centre Manager, Bridgeen Mullen, said: "We really enjoy hosting our many Germany visitors, as well as all nationalities who come on our tours and tastings. Visiting a distillery like The Clydeside offers a unique and immersive experience that goes beyond just tasting exceptional Lowland Scotch whisky.

It's an opportunity to delve into Scotland's rich cultural heritage and traditions. Visitors can witness the craftsmanship and passion that goes into each bottle, learn about the history of whisky-making, and enjoy a true warm Glaswegian welcome. Whether you're from Germany, or any part of the world, stepping into our distillery allows you to truly connect with Scottish culture and the heart of our whisky tradition."

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