The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) have today published statistics which show that there were 923,000 visitors to Irish whiskey distilleries in 2018.
This marks a 13.4% increase on 2017, when visitor numbers reached 814,000.
The representative body for the Irish Whiskey industry said that figures are based on returns from 13 Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres and brand homes located across the island of Ireland.
“Just as Irish whiskey remains the fastest growing premium spirits category in the world, Irish whiskey distilleries are now among the fastest growing attractions in Irish tourism,” said William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association.
Overseas visitors made up 88% of total visits to Irish whiskey distilleries in 2018, with the largest number of visitors coming from the US and Canada (40%), followed by the UK (14%), Germany (8%) and France (7%).
Lavelle said: "“Irish whiskey tourism is attracting international visitors, creating jobs and supporting local economies, both urban and rural, right across the island of Ireland.”
Visitors from the island of Ireland (North & South) accounted for 12% of total visits in 2018.
The 13 Irish whiskey visitor centres and brand homes directly employed 356 staff in 2018, including seasonal posts.
“Irish whiskey tourism is attracting international visitors, creating jobs and supporting local economies, both urban and rural, right across the island of Ireland,” Lavelle added.
The results show that the industry is well on track to reach target visitor numbers of 1.9 million by 2025, as set out in the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.