Scotland’s most prestigious tourism awards have celebrated the success of more than 350 winners since their creation 25 years ago.
The impressive total comes as the annual competition, which this year celebrates its ‘silver’ anniversary, unveiled the launch of a new category in the Scottish Thistle Awards.
In celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, the Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience award will honour those who excel in bringing to life Scotland’s rich history, heritage and traditions.
Gillian MacDonald, Head of Sales & Marketing at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring a new Scottish Thistle Award for Best Heritage Tourism Experience, particularly this year as we celebrate Scotland’s rich and vibrant History, Heritage and Archaeology.
“Heritage tourism plays a key role in contributing to the success of Scotland’s overall tourism industry and this award is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate excellence in this area.”
The new award is one of 16 different categories which members of the public, businesses and organisations can make nominations in. Others include Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel, Best Pub/Bar, Best Visitor Attraction and Tourism Hospitality Hero.
This year marks a milestone for the Scottish Thistle Awards, which celebrates success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.
For the past 25 years, over 350 national winners have been crowned at the event, recognising those who have made valuable contributions to the sector.
Entrants will be shortlisted by a panel of industry experts and the finalists will go head-to-head at special regional ceremonies in November. Winners will then go on to represent their respective region in the glittering national Scottish Thistle Award final held next year.
Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:
“The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance to celebrate those who work tirelessly to ensure that all visitors, whether from Scotland or further afield, enjoy a truly memorable experience. Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. I’m delighted that these awards continue to recognise the shining lights within our industry.
“This year marks a very special anniversary for the Scottish Thistles Awards; it is our 25th anniversary. In that time we have recognised the dedication, talent and success of over 350 winners and this year is no exception. I’m urging everyone to help us celebrate in style by nominating the businesses, attractions and individuals that have inspired them.
“Even without a nomination, our fantastic Scottish tourism businesses can put themselves forward, so we would urge them to go online, find out what category or categories they think best represents them and enter.”
The Scottish Thistle Awards is led by a panel of industry experts from several organisations including VisitScotland, Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, sportscotland and Wild Scotland.
The full 16 regional categories are:
• Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel
• Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
• Best Accommodation Provider
• Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience
• Innovation in Tourism
• Best Informal Eating Experience
• Best Restaurant Experience
• Best Pub/Bar
• Regional Ambassador
• Best Cultural Event or Festival
• Best Sporting Event
• Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
• HIT Scotland Regional Rising Star
• Working Together for Tourism
• Best Visitor Attraction
• Tourism & Hospitality Hero
The deadline for nominations across all categories is Friday 23 June and nominees will then have until Friday 30 June to enter.
To nominate, enter or for further information on the Scottish Thistle Awards visit: www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk