Now in its 11th year, the festival is celebrating the news that global exports of Scotch whisky reached record levels in 2009, despite the economic downturn, and that visitor numbers to Scotland’s whisky distilleries also increased.
Figures published recently by the Scotch Whisky Association reveal exports rose by 3% in value to £3.13billion, contributing £99 every second to the UK trade balance.
Advance bookings for over 270 events to be staged during the Festival (Thursday, 29th April-Monday, 3rd May) have proved particularly attractive to visitors from the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, US and Denmark.
Festival Chairman Jim Royan said: “Whisky is the cornerstone of the Moray economy and local tourism, and the Festival celebrates the importance of the Speyside whisky industry not just economically, but also socially and culturally to Moray and to Scotland.
“The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has gone from strength to strength since its inception 11 years ago, and this year looks set to be another major success, offering our visitors a great opportunity to celebrate – and sample – Scotland’s national drink.”
Scotland’s whisky distilleries welcomed over 1.25million visitors during 2009, a 2.6% increase.
The Dufftown whisky museum has relocated and is re-opening this week.
Events are aimed at the non-whisky drinker as well as the casual whisky consumer and the connoisseur, and include ceilidhs and concerts, specialist whisky tours and tastings, gourmet meals and outdoor activities.