Purpose – The importance of forging partnerships has become popular in tourism, and there is little empirical research investigating co‐operative marketing associations, like Scotland's Malt Whisky Trail (MWT). With the management of the organisation undergoing change as a result of new directions within VisitScotland (the body with statutory responsibility for promoting tourism), this paper takes a timely examination of the options for future leadership and operation. The paper aims to examine the management issues that arise from the diffuse nature of the stakeholders’ positions and explores the inherent problems in administering this type of co‐operative marketing organisation. Design/methodology/approach – Information for the paper was acquired through a series of in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews with representatives of each of the partners on the MWT. The work draws upon the theory surrounding public–private marketing partnerships, with the criteria for success in these being applied to the MWT. Findings – This historically successful partnership required the varying stakeholder tensions to be reconciled and balanced among the distilleries which compete for market share, and between the priorities of public and private bodies. A number of leadership options are considered, in the recognition that the lead given to the MWT by its Chair will shape future direction. This future direction, of what is considered to be a mature partnership, polarises on either innovative developments at both member level and marketing of the MWT as a whole, or standstill. Originality/value – This work gives an insight into successful long‐term public–private marketing associations. The MWT is at a crossroads in terms of leadership and development options. These two issues are linked, with the Chair influencing whether an innovative route is chosen, or the status quo maintained.
International Journal of Wine Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2006
Keywords: Tourism; Spirits; Tourism management; Scotland