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The Malt Whisky Trail: The Tourism and Marketing Potential of the Whisky Distillery Visitor Centre

A. Martin (Department of Hospitality Management, Robert Gordon Univer‐sity, Queens Road, Kepplestone, Aberdeen AB15 4PH)
H.M. Haugh (Department of Management Studies, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, Aberdeen AB24 3QY)

International Journal of Wine Marketing

ISSN: 0954-7541

Article publication date: 1 February 1999



The whisky industry of Scotland originates from the 15th Century when in 1494 the earliest record of distilling in Scotland was documented (www.scotch‐ Since then the whisky industry has developed to become an intrinsic part of Scottish life and today generates vital employment opportunities and export revenue for the country. The realisation of the tourism and marketing potential of whisky distilleries in Scotland however only occurred in the late 1960s when the Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet visitor centres opened (TMDA, 1995). Since then more than 44 distillery visitor centres have opened (SWA, 1999) and they now make a significant contribution to the range of tourist attractions in Scotland. For example, in 1995, six distilleries appeared in the top 50 visitor attractions in the Grampian region (GRC, 1995). The Malt Whisky Trail (MWT) is a collaborative venture between Aberdeen and Grampian Tourist Board, the Local Enterprise Company and a specific group if distilleries in the valley of the River Spey. Modelled on successful chateaux visitor trails in France, the first distilleries on the MWT opened to visitors in 1972, and the Trail now consists of a sign posted route, a planned itinerary and informative literature for seven distilleries and one cooperage in the region. This paper outlines the history, development and establishment of the MWT in North East Scotland, the performance of the distillery visitor centre in attracting visitors and adding value to the brand, and an evaluation of the costs and benefits of the MWT. The paper contributes to the literature in three ways: to further understanding of the link between an indigenous industry and tourism, to illustrate the use of co‐operative marketing between firms, and to provide a case study example from which other industries and regions can learn.



Martin, A. and Haugh, H.M. (1999), "The Malt Whisky Trail: The Tourism and Marketing Potential of the Whisky Distillery Visitor Centre", International Journal of Wine Marketing, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 42-52.




Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

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