Islay – the whisky isle

 Islay [pronounced eyelah] is one of the five Scottish protected whisky localities; it is located off the west coast of Scotland and is one of the southernmost islands of the inner Hebridean Islands. There is a regular modern car ferry that connects the island with the Scottish mainland – in recent years whisky lovers from around the world have made whisky pilgrimages to Islay.

The whisky of Islay is characterised by a smokey peat flavour which is infused during the distillation process. The island is relatively small and all the distilleries will be visted; they are Ardberg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Cao Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin, Laphroaig.

However, meetings were scheduled with Bruichladdich and Kilchoman as both organisations are great exemplars of marketing.

As we wandered around the main town of Bowmore we came across The Celtic House. This is a shop that focuses on Islay and Scottish products. It is an interesting shop and I have to say a little too interesting given the baggage allowances of airlines.  The Celtic House has a carefully selected collection of books and I discover and purchase the Islay Roadbooks by Gudrun and Heinz Fesl.   The books are a rich collection of photographs and succinct descriptions, however, the authors include a map for each set of photographs and the books and our trusty Lonely Planet Guide were a great way of uncovering some of Islay’s gems.


Task: Although Islay is relatively unknown as a tourist destination it is rather unique – as many people return on a regular basis – if you were a manager of a tourist destination how would you manage the aggregate product to create loyal tourists who generated word of mouth but returned time and time again.

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