Drinks giant Diageo welcomed more than one million people to its whisky visitor centres in Scotland for the first time in 2023, with Johnnie Walker Princes Street pulling in nearly a third of the total.

The figures are the first to be published since the Covid pandemic and follow a £185 million investment by the company across its portfolio of 12 distillery visitor centres throughout Scotland, plus the Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh. A total of 1.13 million people passed through their doors in 2023.

Opened in September 2021, Johnnie Walker Princes Street welcomed 359,000 people last year while the long-established Talisker visitor centre on the Isle of Skye registered 184,000 visitors. The Oban Distillery in Argyllshire hosted 157,000 guests.

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Other highlights include 82,000 visitors to Blair Athol in Pitlochry, 64,000 to Singleton of Glen Ord near Inverness, 57,000 to Lagavulin on Islay, and 55,000 to Dalwhinnie in the Highlands.

“Scotch whisky is well-established as Scotland’s leading export to the world and every bottle we sell around the world is an invitation to visit Scotland and experience its amazing culture, heritage and environment," said Katie Harris, managing director of Scotland brand homes for Diageo.

“The great thing about Scotch whisky tourism is that it creates opportunities all across Scotland, from our capital city to the communities of the Highlands and Islands where many of our distilleries are located. We are incredibly proud to have welcomed more than a million people through our doors for the first time in Scotland, but we believe this is just the start and there is a powerful opportunity for further growth, with all the positive benefits that will bring to Scotland.”

According to the most recent industry figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), more than two million people visited whisky visitor experiences in this country in 2022.

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“These figures highlight further evidence that Scotch whisky is making a fantastic contribution to both driving visitor demand and growing Scotland’s visitor economy across the length and breadth of the country," said Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

Diageo's investment in its Scotch whisky visitor experiences was designed to appeal to global trends in food and drink tourism, with consumers seeking to engage in authentic stories and experiences relating to the brands they purchase.

Since its launch Johnnie Walker Princes Street has received several national and international accolades as a leading tourism destination. Rated as a five-star attraction by VisitScotland, it also recently won the World’s Leading Sprit Experience and Europe’s Leading Spirit Tourism Experience at the World Travel Awards.

Elsewhere, the Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery, located in Muir of Ord, was named Scotland's Leading Distillery Tour 2024 at the World Travel Awards (WTA).