Ireland aiming to become world leader in whiskey tourism
The Irish Whiskey Association have launched a plan for Ireland to become a world leader in whiskey tourism by 2030.
The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy, which was launched with Michael Creed T.D. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, sets out four recommendations which are required in order to achieve this objective.
These four recommendations are; to support the growth of Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres, to develop an all island whiskey tourism product, to create an Irish whiskey trail and tourism infrastructure around distilleries and to develop an embassy network of hotels, restaurants and pubs.
“What we’ve witnessed over the past few years truly is a renaissance in the industry,” said Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, Miriam Mooney.
“This strategy sets the conditions for the next step in growth for the industry. In 2013 there were just four distilleries in Ireland, today there are 16 in production and 13 in planning in 18 counties across Ireland.
“With national and local government support, Irish whiskey tourism has the potential to grow from 653,277 visitors every year up to 1.9 million visitors by 2025, spending an estimated €1.3 billion every year.”
The strategy forecasts that the future of Irish whiskey tourism is dependent on a collaboration of local communities and state agencies supporting the growth of Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres all around the island.
It proposes innovative ideas including the establishment of an all-island whiskey trail that will attract a significant number of tourists to Ireland, similar to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, which attracts nearly one million tourists every year.
The strategy also recommends the development of a hospitality embassy network connected to the Irish whiskey trail which will make it easier for visitors to undertake specialist whiskey tours, while extending the benefits of whiskey tourism to local businesses and cultural hubs around each distillery.
It is hoped that these developments will lead to increased tourism and employment opportunities, similar to the Scotch whisky embassy network, which has created 1,370 jobs and contributes over £43 million to the local economy.