Whisky distilleries and visitor centres add £30m to the Scottish tourism industry each year, according to research for distillers.

The findings published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said there were 1.3 million visits to 52 premises.

The research, by 4-consulting, said direct spending amounted to £37m, including £20m of added value.

There were 460 direct employees, and the number of jobs resulting from the whisky tourism industry rose to 640.

Those centres source their supplies overwhelmingly from other Scottish companies.

They are also located in clusters where other sports, recreation and cultural spending, in addition to accommodation, generate far more income and jobs.

Whisky attractions were mainly visited by non-Scots, with 86% coming from elsewhere, and 62% from outside the UK.

The research makes a link between the strongest whisky export markets and the appeal of Scotland to tourists.

The economists behind it suggest that link leads to £21m of direct tourism spending for every £100m of whisky exports.

They also claim there is a link between those who visit Scotland and those who then trade up to a more expensive brand of whisky.

China was found to be one of the fastest-growing tourist markets for Scotland, with whisky the Scottish produce most commonly cited by potential Chinese tourists.

Campbell Evans, of the SWA, said: “Scotch whisky and tourism can be seen as the perfect blend and complement one another.”

Article Courtesy of BBC