The 13th annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival was the biggest and best yet with both visitor numbers and revenue up on previous years.
Ticket sales exceeded all expectations with 40% more tickets sold, generating increased activity for many Speyside businesses. Festival Manager Mary Hemsworth said “We have been delighted by the level of commitment and innovation shown by local businesses in very challenging economic times. Many events sold out within 24 hours and by the start of the Festival ticket sales were continuing to perform better than expected’.
With almost a third more events this year visitors had a great programme to choose from and market research shows that in excess of 28,500 visits were made to events throughout the Speyside area. The Festival attracted visitors from around the globe, with a notable increase in the percentage of Festival visits from overseas visitors.
An independent outcome report, prepared by Bellerby Economics, calculated that the economic benefit to the Moray/Speyside area this year as a result of the Festival was over £1.3million over the five days.
With a growing international reputation as a ‘must-do’ event on the whisky Festival calendar this year 48% of visitors were visiting Speyside for the first time. 99% of visitors surveyed rated their Festival experience as good or very good and 70% said they would return to Scotland within the next 3 years. James Campbell, chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival commented "The Festival thrives on the participation of local communities and businesses, who have supported us over the years and this year we have seen some excellent new events hosted by both Grantown on Spey and Rothes Community Associations. On behalf of the Festival Board I’d like to thank all those who were involved with this year’s Festival for their support and hard work in making their events and the Festival as a whole such a success. It would not be possible without the generous support of our funders, partners, sponsors and members”.
James also paid tribute to Jim Royan, who stepped down as Chairman at the end of this year’s Festival, for his sound guidance and leadership of the Festival Board over the past 3 years, during which time the Festival has gone from strength to strength.
Plans are already being made for the next Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which will take placefrom Thursday 2nd May until Monday 6th May 2013.