Research Output

It’s all Greek to me”: Stakeholder Perspectives on Scotland’s Reformed Tourism Structures

  Processes of territorialisation, devolution and rescaling within Europe are creating spatially redefined destinations that are giving rise to novel and distinctive tourism structures (Coles et al., 2014), which are operating in environments of constrained public finances that often challenge the legitimacy and appropriateness of continuing public sector financial support for tourism. In addition, there is evidence of pluralization of destination management activities taking place and communities of interest are reassessing their approaches (Dredge and Jamal, 2013) in reaction to their changing external environments.
Wishing to explore how the restructuring of VisitScotland, the national tourism body, in 2007 affected the creation of sub-national tourism structures in Scotland and how local stakeholders were making sense of these changes, the researcher carried out a three step, mixed method data collection process. First, desk and Web research helped to define, identify and classify the existing number and types of destination development organisation bodies that evolved as a result of the restructuring processes. Then a quantitative survey of destination development bodies (N=40, sampled all and achieved 35% response rate) established their composition and structures, the style of decision and policy making and levels of collaboration with other local, regional and national partners. Following the analysis of the survey, 28 in depth qualitative interviews were carried out at regional level across Scotland based on the official area tourism partnerships to establish the dynamics between organisations.
The findings suggest that fluidity and pluralism are key characteristics of the Scottish tourism policy environment. The government economic agencies remain influential players in the tourism system; however, there is also evidence of local destination self-governing networks forming that focus on knowledge management and product innovation. Historical and organisational imprinting is evident in the establishment of some of the new structures whose efficiency, relevance and legitimacy is at times questioned. The paper’s theoretical contribution lays in the adoption of an interdisciplinary perspective that combines organisational theory and governance as lenses of analysis, in response to Dredge and Jamal (2013)’s call for more critical engagement with tourism public policy and practice.

  • Date:

    20 July 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    GV Recreation Leisure

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    338.4791 Tourist industry


Anastasiadou, C. (in press). It’s all Greek to me”: Stakeholder Perspectives on Scotland’s Reformed Tourism Structures



Tourism, finance, Scotland, policy,

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