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Mackintosh and Merchant City projects review: final report


The Merchant City project aims to increase business collaboration, enhance tourism products and events, and develop new marketing and promotional activities within the Merchant City area of Glasgow. The Mackintosh project aims to maximise the potential for Glasgow of the cultural assets designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, by building on events, increasing audiences and creating new visitor experiences. The report aims to review Scottish Enterprise's support to the Mackintosh and Merchant City development projects, both funded through Scottish Enterprise's Destination Glasgow activity. The report assesses the outputs and outcomes from the two tourism development product development projects, in order to establish their overall success.


The methodology consisted of: desk research; telephone and face-to-face consultation with Scottish Enterprise (SE) project managers, group managers and board members, public sector consultees responsible for tourism policy across Glasgow, and business beneficiaries.


Merchant City project: The report finds that there is still a public sector role in bringing businesses together for joint promotion of the Merchant City area. SE contributed £300,000 funding over three financial years to the Merchant City project. SE also assumed a networking, facilitating and monitoring role. Links between SE and the Merchant City Tourism and Marketing Corporation (MCTMC) have been good, although both teams experienced changes in project management and marketing staff. Collaboration and networking between businesses, facilitated by MCTMC, has been excellent. The key achievements of the project include the development of: the website and social media to promote the Merchant City; business networking events; and support for events in the Merchant City (which have led to increased visitor numbers). Overall, footfall surveys have indicated a clear increase in the number of visitors to the Merchant City, suggesting that the location has become a more popular destination. Mackintosh project: The report finds that SE involvement in the project allowed the group to deliver outcomes, rather than remaining a 'talking shop'. SE's role within the Mackintosh project included help with funding, networking, education, professional advice and the addition of status, catalyst and value. The key achievements of the Mackintosh group include the development of: the website, tourist and public transport deals; leaflets and educational products; and support for major events (which increased visitor numbers to Mackintosh attractions and Glasgow).


For the Merchant City project, the report recommends that the MCTMC need to clarify the boundaries of the Merchant City and outline the benefits of membership for Merchant City members. The report suggests that SE should move to supporting key projects, rather than giving core support to the Merchant City project. The Mackintosh project group needs to move to a model which is more sustainable and where less public sector support is required. For both projects, the report recommends that realistic targets need to be set (which should relate to the projects, be suitable for monitoring, and be agreed with the project group to clarify expectations). SE should continue the process of measuring project milestones, to ensure that achievements are kept on track. SE should also try to ensure continuity of project managers, and where this is not possible, SE should arrange an overlap of time between managers to allow the maximum transfer of information, or ensure that information is logged electronically so that it can be accessed by future managers. Plans for exit strategies should be in place at the start of projects and SE need to monitor the projects closely to ensure that the groups are in a position to become self-sustaining.

Author Roger Tym and Partners
Published Year 2012
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Area regeneration, Local/community regeneration
  • Innovation
    Business innovation
  • Sectors