This year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival brought a huge boost to the Moray economy.
Businesses across the area benefited from an influx of visitors who spent £2.1 million over the five days of the festival at the beginning of May.
An economic impact assessment carried out by Bellerby Economics found that figure rose from £1.65m in 2013 and £1.47m in 2012, representing an increase of 42% over a two year period.
There were 27,227 total visits from overseas, UK and Scottish attendees, and international visitors came to the area from 31 countries including USA, Russia and Canada, with an average of £197 spent per day, excluding accommodation.
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.
James Campbell, festival chairman, said: “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 added: “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 takes place from April 30 to May 4, and tickets will go on sale in late January.