The Ibec body is highlighting the importance of domestic tourism with Irish whiskey distilleries being so heavily impacted by the collapse in international tourism due to Covid-19.
“Irish whiskey distilleries attracted over one million visitors last year, but 87% of visitors were from overseas” commented the Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey William Lavelle, “making Irish whiskey distilleries one of the most exposed sectors impacted by the international travel collapse.
“Thankfully, the distilleries that have re-opened to date are reporting a slow but steadily growing stream of domestic tourists and local visitors.”
While increased domestic tourism cannot make-up for the fall in visitor numbers from overseas, getting more Irish people through the doors of distilleries over the coming months will be critical to ensuring their future viability, he said, “So we’re hoping domestic tourists will support the industry and use this Summer as an opportunity to discover the hidden whiskey gems that are on their doorstep.”
New whiskey experiences
He said many distilleries and brand homes have introduced new visitor offerings and more intimate tourist experiences in the wake of Covid-19.
“Smaller tour sizes, private tastings, new cocktail and food pairings and collaborations with local businesses are just some of the ways our members are adapting their offerings as they re-open,” he said. “Safety is obviously a key focus for all our visitor centres – they have reduced their tour sizes and introduced all the necessary requirements to ensure social distancing can be adhered to.
The Irish whiskey industry had a successful 2019 with nearly 12 million case sales of Irish whiskey globally, a doubling of volumes since 2010 along with a record one million people visiting Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres.
Further information on the Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres now open is available at: www.irishwhiskey360.com.