The economic impact assessment of this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has revealed a significant increase in the value of the event to the local area. Businesses across Speyside benefitted from £2.1 million spent by visitors who came to experience the 2014 event. The impact figure rose from £1.65m in 2013 and £1.47m in 2012, representing an increase of 42% over a two year period.
Overseas, UK and Scottish visitors made 27,227 visits to events over the five days of the festival, which took place from May 1 to 5 in venues across Speyside – the spiritual home of Scotland’s malt whisky industry.
International visitors came to the area from 31 countries including USA, Russia and Canada, and spent an average of £197 per day, excluding accommodation. International visitors represented almost half of all visitors to the 2014 festival.
The economic impact assessment is conducted independently by Bellerby Economics.
Organisers increased the number of events on offer throughout the area and introduced the Spirit of Speyside Sessions in response to visitor feedback requesting more evening entertainment in the programme.
The total number events on the bill for 2014 reached 432. The on-the-ground survey found overall satisfaction levels to the visitor experience to be ‘very good’ with 87% giving this response in relation to the festival itself – a figure up 11% on the previous year. The survey also found that 100% of all visitors rated accommodation in the area as ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
James Campbell, chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival says, “These figures demonstrate that the hard work put in by all festival partners is certainly paying off in increased visitor numbers and spend, as well as in visitor satisfaction levels.
“The introduction of the Spirit of Speyside Sessions giving a diverse evening programme of traditional music for festival goers, was a highly successful addition and one we will continue to develop for the 2015 event. This, coupled with our development of the event transport to allow ease of movement between festival events, enhances the experience for all those who visit the festival.
“As 2015 is the year of Scotland’s Food and Drink, we are already planning a programme which will build on the success of this year’s festival as we continue to listen to visitor feedback and grow the offering to a wide area and with increased partners and choice of new and exciting events.”
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing adds, “I am delighted to see the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is bringing significant economic impacts to the area, with the number of local people and visitors attending the event increasing year on year. It is a fantastic example of how Homecoming Scotland and the themed years can benefit communities across Scotland.”
The 2015 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival - and its traditional musical arm the Spirit of Speyside Sessions - takes place from April 30 to May 4. Further information about the event is available at www.spiritofspeyside.com Tickets for events will go on sale in late January 2015.