Firm toasts rise in whisky tourism

More tourists are heading off on a trip to whisky distilleries in Scotland, new figures have shown.

A report from industry leader Diageo found that the influx of visitors to its distilleries rose by 19% over the past two years to 210,432 in 2010, led by UK tourists who accounted for 87,417 of last year's visits.

Distillery visitor centres run by Diageo saw tourists from 43 nations last year, with Germany, France, USA and Spain making up the top five countries.

Diageo, which operates 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, has 12 dedicated visitor centres.

Talisker, on the Isle of Skye, was the company's busiest distillery visitor centre welcoming 50,550 whisky enthusiasts in 2010, an increase from 41,271 in 2008 and 47,115 in 2009.

Steve Blake, general manager of Diageo's visitor centres, said the growing popularity of Scotch whisky combined with the high quality of visitor experience offered at the distilleries were the key factors in their increasing success.

He said: "Scotch whisky is this country's fastest growing export and the great thing about whisky is that it is also a fantastic advert for Scotland. It's a high-quality product which promotes Scotland as a quality tourist destination to people all round the world."

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