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American whisky lovers flock to Speyside

For the first time in its two-decade-long history, the number of Americans visiting the Speyside Whisky Festival in Scotland has surpassed other international visitors.

The event, held in the spiritual home of Scotland’s malt whisky industry each May Bank Holiday weekend, attracted 26,389 people from a record 34 countries, with international visitors accounting for 49% of attendees.

Countries represented included Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Qatar, with visitors from the US holding the biggest share.

“While we are delighted to continue to attract visitors from all around the world to Speyside, we are particularly pleased to see the Festival becoming such a draw for the USA, highlighting the event’s growing appeal among a global audience”, said James Campbell, chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

“The USA has become a key market for us and the fact that so many people are willing to travel such great distances to experience our unique offering speaks volumes for the hard work put in by everyone involved with the Festival.”

Last year sales of whisky overtook those of vodka in the US for the first time, marking a shift in consumer preferences.

The report into also highlighted that the number of people staying for longer at the festival had increased. The number of people staying for all five nights increased by 32% compared to 2014. Of those visiting, 79% chose to stay overnight, a rise of 9% on last year.

An economic assessment impact conducted by Bellerby Economics found that the amount spent locally in Speyside during the 2015 festival amounted to £1.36 million, with Scotland as a whole boosted by £1.58 million. The separate industry standard measurement of the Gross Value Added (GVA), which calculates the knock-on impact of the visitor spend in the weeks and months following the festival, totalled £0.64 million for Speyside and £0.85 million Scotland-wide.

“To hear that the Festival has widened its international appeal and visitors are staying for longer is fantastic news and testament to the hard work and dedication of organisers in creating an unmissable and entertaining event programme”, said Malcolm Roughead, Visit Scotland chief executive. “A rise in visitors from Scotland’s most important overseas market, America, is hugely welcome and fits perfectly with tourism trends we are seeing across the entire country.

The 2016 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is set to take place from 28 April to 2 May.




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