Visitor numbers are still down a third on the pre-Covid peak of 1.02 million
Irish whiskey distilleries around the island of Ireland attracted 677,000 visitors last year, an increase of 425% on 2021.
New figures from the Irish Whiskey Association show that visitor numbers are still down a third on the pre-Covid peak of 1.02 million.
The data from its annual survey of Irish whiskey distilleries for 2022 shows that the top four markets for visitors to Irish whiskey distilleries were the United States and Canada, Ireland, Germany and Great Britain.
“2022 represented a year of recovery following two years of closures and restrictions, due to Covid-19,” said James Doherty, chairperson of the Irish Whiskey Association.
“While 2021 saw encouraging support from domestic visitors and staycationers, 2022 saw a strong rebound in the number of visitors from international markets, particularly North America, Germany and Great Britain,” he added.
Mr Doherty said they are targeting a full recovery for 2023.
“Irish whiskey tourism makes a substantial economic contribution to local communities around Ireland, particularly in rural areas.
“Based on previous assessments conducted in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, we assess that tourists spent over €40 million in local communities linked to visits to distilleries,” he said.
Mr Doherty said they expect at least 26 Irish whiskey distilleries will be open to visitors in 2023, directly employing over 400 people.