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1 August 2018, 07:15
Scotch whisky tourism grew to record levels last year, according to new figures from the industry body.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) reported almost 1.9 million visits to Scotch whisky visitor centres in 2017, up 11.4% on the previous year and a rise of 45% since 2010.
Tourist spend was also up, increasing by 15.6% to £60.9 million last year.
The average spend per visitor increased slightly year-on-year to £32.22, up by £11 since 2010.
Visitor centres reported that the highest number of visitors came from Germany and the US, followed by those from India, China and Japan.
Scotland has 122 malt distilleries, with 66 Scotch whisky visitor centres open to the public, and a further eight which can be visited by appointment.
Karen Betts, SWA chief executive, said: "These record figures are great news for the industry and great news for Scotland.
"Scotch whisky distilleries have invested - and continue to invest - hugely in providing world-class visitor facilities at their sites all over Scotland, and they are collaborating in establishing new whisky trails and finding new ways of telling the story of Scotch to British and foreign visitors alike.
"We will continue to work closely and collaboratively with tourist organisations, local councils and the Scottish Government to ensure that Scotland's tourists have a memorable time visiting our country and experiencing all it has to offer."
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "These record figures show the value of the industry and how well-regarded Scotch whisky is to tourists from the UK and abroad.
"As we are seeing innovative expansions to the visitor experience at distilleries around Scotland, I am confident we will see a further increase in visitors, which is great for our tourism sector and the wider economy."