The 2016/2017 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, recognises hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.
Four regional ceremonies were held in November: Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothians & Borders; West; Highlands and Islands, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards; and Aberdeen City and Shire, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.
The Glasgow 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships picked up Event Connect Best Sporting Event for the West and will battle it out against Etape Loch Ness Cycle Sportive, Edinburgh Marathon Festival, FEI European Eventing Championship 2015 Blair Castle and the Braemar Gathering at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final next year.
Hinterland, created by Glasgow-based NVA to launch the Festival of Architecture, as part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, won Caledonian MacBrayne Best Cultural Event or Festival for the West and faces tough competition in the national shortlist which features Edinburgh's Hogmanay by Unique Events, Oban Winter Festival, Solas Festival and Celebrate Aberdeen.
Other notable regional winners include: Daniel Steel, Chief Executive Officer for Sail Scotland, who was an individual winner with the West Regional Ambassador award; Scot tennis star and world number one, Andy Murray, whose luxury hotel Cromlix was named J Thomson Colour Printers Best Restaurant Experience in Central, Fife and Tayside; Born in the Borders, awarded the Scotland Can Do Award for Innovation In Tourism for the Borders and Lothians due to its work to capitalise on the Borders Railway; ferry service CalMac took home the Edinburgh Airport Working Together for Tourism award, for its partnership working along the West Coast.
Scotland’s major attractions, biggest events and top-class accommodation and eateries, will now go on to compete for the coveted national prize at the glittering Scottish Thistle Awards National Final to be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in March 2017.
Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “A huge congratulations to all of the regional winners and I wish them the best of luck as they move forward to represent their own regions in the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final.
“It has been another record-breaking year of entries for the Scottish Thistle Awards and winners, and indeed all finalists, should be very proud of their achievements in such a highly competitive field.
“The Scottish tourism industry and hospitality sector prides itself on delivering a rewarding experience for visitors and success here is both recognition of excellence and innovation, and a sign of quality. It is their warm welcome, embodying the Spirit of Scotland, which makes the country a world-class destination for visitors.”
Michael Jones, Managing Director at Fishers, said:“Congratulations to all of the regional winners and finalists. The people who work in our tourism industry not only play a crucial role in the Scottish economy, but they are Scotland’s ambassadors too. Fishers also plays an important part in supporting Scotland’s tourism sector and we are proud to do so - and to be headline sponsors of the Scottish Thistle Awards. The pursuit of excellence within our industry is important for the whole sector and it's equally important that it's recognised.”
The Scottish Thistle Awards are 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 regional categories, aligned with the Scottish Tourism Strategy 2020, include ‘Friendliest pub/bar’ and ‘Innovation in Tourism’, as well as new awards such as ‘Regional Rising Star’ – awarding young people aged 30 and under who have shown real passion for tourism – and ‘Tourism & Hospitality Hero’ – celebrating those front line staff, from tour guides to front of house, who provide exceptional service and a personal touch.
For a full list of regional winners go to https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk