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Scotch Whisky Tourism

Yaroshok Lada Certificate in Hotel and Tourism Management Operations HTMi Switzerland

Scotland is a famous destination for a lot of tourists from all over the world. It attracts people with its culture, history and traditions. According to Visit Scotland (2013), there are a big percentage of people (48%), who have visited historic houses, stately homes and castles. Trying local food and beverages is a key aspect of experiencing Scotland and a key activity amongst many tourists (50 %). About 20% of people have chosen to visit a whisky distillery as their top activity (Visit Scotland, 2013). That means, that Whisky plays an important role in developing of tourism in Scotland. The following paper is trying to find out, how much Whisky affects the tourism industry in Scotland, who belongs to the target market and what is the motivation for tourists to visit Scotch Whisky Trails.

Whisky regions
The Scotch Whisky Association identifies 5 regions of Whisky: Highland, Speyside, Islay, Lowland and Cambeltown (Scotch Whisky Association, 2013). Every Whisky has its own special taste, depending on the region where it has been made and the factors, such as the place where water has been obtained or the different forms of the copper stills were used. Distillery trails are an essential experience for visitors, because it helps to explain them a lot of complexities of Scotch Whiskies (Visit Scotland, 2013).

Three the most famous distilleries

According to Martinolli and Bereziat (2010), the most popular Whisky Distillery is Tullibardine Distillery, Blackford. The popularity of this distillery is conditioned by its rich history and its traditional way of producing Single Malt Whisky. The history of this distillery goes back to 1488, where King James IV bought the beer from the brewery, which stood where today the Tullibardine Distillery can be found. (Tullibardine Highland Single Malt Whisky, 2013). That is the reason, why it has attracted 130,000 visitors at 2009 (Martinolli and Bereziat, 2010). Edradour Distillery had 82,195 visitors at 2009 (Martinolli and Bereziat, 2010). It is known as the smallest distillery in Scotland, still housed in their original farm building; it is located in Highland Region and Whisky is produced by hand (Edradour Distillery, 2013). Talisker Distillery Visitor Centre with its 52,000 visitors in the year 2009 found its position on the top-3 the most attended distilleries in Scotland (Martinolli and Bereziat, 2010). It is famous because of the location (The Isle of Skye beautiful views) and the taste of its Whisky (Discovering Distilleries, 2013).

Target market of Scotch Whisky Trails

According to report of 4-consulting (2013), Nearly nine out of ten visits (86.1%) came from outside of Scotland with nearly two thirds (62.3%) coming from outside of the UK. A lot of local people visit distilleries, because in their opinion it is the part of their history and they want to get an experience of trying different whiskies from different parts of Scotland and to compare them. (BBC News Scotland, 2011).

According to 4-Consulting (2013), the most rapid increasing target market for Scotland is China. Research shows, that tourists from China often bought products that had a connection to Scotland. Scotland's largest tourism market is the United States. It was shown through a survey, that when American's had to think of Products, famous people, brands or even events from Scotland, they first associated Scotch Whisky (31%) with Scotland, leaving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in second place with 17%. (4-Consulting, 2013) Through research Campbell Evans (Scotland Whisky Association Director of Government and Consumer Affairs) has found out, that countries which are big export markets for Scotland often spend more on tourism in Scotland. Meanwhile, many countries, where the amount of visitors traveling to Scotland has grown, also tend to pay more for a bottle of Scotch whisky. (ScotlandWhisky, 2011). Hamilton (2011) mentioned, that Laphroaig (a distillery visitor centre) alone had visitors from more than 61 different countries within the time interval of June 2010 to May 2011 including countries like the U.S., Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

Economic Impact of Whisky Tourism

As 4-Consulting report indicates (2011), that, regarding to Whisky Tourism, visitor centres and distilleries provide 640 work places. Moreover, they have a very important role in the income of Scotland, bringing more than 30.4 million in profit for the country. It also included approximately 14 million in profit for employers working within the visitor centres and distilleries across Scotland with overall estimate of 47.7 million.

To get the most out of the connection between Scotch whisky and tourism, state authority and other hospitality organizations in 2003 established Scotch Whisky Embassy. Taking 90 hotels, golf courses, bars and restaurants in consideration, which meet certain expectation, the contribution of this network to the economy of Scotland was 43.2 millions and Scotch Whisky Embassy has offered 1,400 work places (Scotch Whisky Association, 2011).

Spirit of Speyside Festival as a way to attract tourists

One of the biggest Whisky Events in Scotland is Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. It takes place every year at the beginning of May and attracts people from all around the world (Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, 2013). In 2013 it attracted 32,000 visitors and generated approximately 1.65 million for the local economy (Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, 2013). According to the report of Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (2013), There was a marked increase in visitors from the USA and Canada, and visitors also travelled from as far afield as Russia, Brazil and South Africa. Scandinavian visitors continued to represent the keenest Speyside whisky fans who were attracted by the exceptional choice of whisky-based events and activities. Some of popular events were included to the Festival, such as Whisky Awards Judging and Awards Lunch and the Opening Dinner, as well the exclusive three-day Whisky School at the historic Knockando Distillery (Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, 2013). It all makes this festival interesting for visitors and attracts them with its atmosphere, hospitality, friendliness and expert knowledge, noticed James Campbel, the Festival Chairman (Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, 2013).

Tourists motivation of doing Scotch Whisky Trails

Scotch Whisky Trails are very popular. Scotch Whisky Association (2013) points out, that many things can influence the different tastes of whiskies, for example what the source of the water is, or the shape of the still the whisky is coming from. A lot of visitors want to get an experience in offering Scotch Whisky Trails. They also can join smelling tours. It helps visitors to understand, how to determine the quality of Whisky. These trails also offer an excursion around the major area of whisky distilleries and let the visitors to enjoy breath-taking views of the beautiful countryside (WhiskyTrail, 2011). Moreover, Scotch whisky is very fashionable drink nowadays. It has overtaken French cognac as the most popular premium spirit in Germany's restaurants and bars (Scotland.com, 2007). As VisitBritain (2010) suggests, that luxurious goods, such as Scotch whisky, Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and etc. are playing an important role in attracting visitors from abroad, especially from Asian countries. That means, that Scotch Whisky Trails can be identified as a prestigious kind of tourism. Germany is one of the largest target markets of Scotland. According to Scottish Government Social Research (2007), Germans determine Whisky trails and authentic music events section as must see and must do activities while travelling to Scotland for a holiday. However, there are a lot of people from the United Kingdom as well who are going to Scotch Whisky Tours. As BBC News Scotland (2011) suggests, the main reason for them to do it is the historical part of their country and it is the heritage from the previous times. They also point out the beautiful outstanding sceneries and mention the tasting of whiskies from different parts of Scotland as the reasons too.

As a conclusion we can say, that Whisky Tourism plays an important role in tourism of Scotland. It attracts people from all around the world, including local people, and helps the economy of this country to grow. We can also add, that Spirit of Speyside Festival promotes this kind of tourism very well. The visitors are motivated to make such tours, because they explain the process of making whisky. It is also considered a prestigious kind of tourism and for many people it is the main motivation.

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