158,000 whiskey tourists per annum are expected to travel to Ireland's midlands and eastern regions, according to the Irish Whiskey Association.
The news came as the Irish Whiskey Association’s Midlands/East Regional Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy was launched by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan on Monday 15th May, at the Tullamore Dew Old Bonded Warehouse.
The Irish whiskey resurgence is gathering pace in Ireland’s Midlands and East. Until recently there were just two distilleries in the region. Now there are four and soon there will be six operating across counties Louth, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath.
Minister O’Donovan said: “I am very pleased on behalf of the Government to launch the Midlands/East Regional Irish Whiskey Association Tourism Strategy. We are fully supportive of the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy’s target to treble the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually, to 1.9m over the next 8 years. When achieved this will deliver €1.3bn to rural and urban centres all over Ireland every year and create hundreds of jobs.
“There will soon be Irish whiskey distilleries operating in 20 counties around the country. With the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy I believe we have the opportunity to create a world-class tourism offering that encourages high-spending international tourists to spend time in distillery towns all around the island.”
Miriam Mooney, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, said: “Irish distilleries are positioning themselves as key tourist attractions. Already Tullamore Dew. Old Bonded Warehouse and Kilbeggan Distillery are succeeding in attracting more than 100,000 visitors to the region every year.”
“We believe that when Slane Distillery and Boann Distillery open their visitor centres, the number of whiskey tourists travelling to the region may exceed the anticipated target of 158,000 visitors per annum judging by the performance of existing visitor centres in the region. This region will play an integral role in making Ireland the world’s number 1 whiskey tourism destination.”
The growth in Irish whiskey and Irish whiskey tourism means that distilleries in the midlands & eastern regions will soon support 286 jobs directly, with more jobs being created in the hospitality sector as a result.
“With collaboration of local communities and national and local government support, Irish whiskey tourism has the potential to grow from 653,277 visitors every year up to 1.9m visitors by 2025, spending an estimated €1.3bn every year and the rich whiskey making culture in the midlands and east plays an integral role in making this potential a reality.”