In the run-up to the 25th anniversary of Scotland’s biggest night in tourism, businesses are being encouraged to celebrate the milestone in a social media campaign.
Previous entrants and finalists of the Scottish Thistle Awards are being asked to post memories and creative images of the number 25 on Twitter using the hashtag #Thistles25, until the National Final on 15 March.
The Scottish Thistle Awards National Final, in association with Fishers, recognises the best in Scottish tourism and will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Still Game and River City star Sanjeev Kohli will co-host the evening with STV presenter and former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch.
Eilean Donan Castle near Dornie, Summerhall Distillery - Pickering's Gin in Edinburgh, The Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust in Glasgow and Peterhead Prison Museum are among this year’s finalists competing in 15 categories, including the inaugural Best Business Event.
Eight facts about the Scottish Thistle Awards:
• Since the Scottish Thistle Awards began in 1992, there have been 351 winners.
• Mark Andrews, director of Disney animated film Brave, picked up the only Global Thistle Award in 2012.
• 94 accommodation providers have won at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Finals since it was established.
• There were only six categories in the very first awards ceremony with winners including former VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay and visitor attraction, New Lanark.
• HAGGiS Adventures are the only company to have won two awards in the same year. In 2005, they won the Off-Peak Success category and also took home the Tourism and Environment award.
• In 2015/2016, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 Ryder Cup were the first joint winners of the Best Sporting Event award.
• The Silver Thistle Award was introduced in 1994, two years after the Scottish Thistle Awards began.
• 2017 saw a record-breaking 750 entries submitted to the awards, including hundreds of nominations from members of the public.
A total of 70 tourism businesses and individuals struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for Central Fife & Tayside, Lothian & Borders, the West, the Highlands & Islands, which was organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, and Aberdeen City and Shire, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, and will go on to represent their respective region in the national final.
Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said: “The Scottish Thistle Awards are Scotland’s premier awards for the tourism industry and for 25 wonderful years they have been shining a spotlight on success, innovation and excellence.
“As we countdown to our silver anniversary final, we hope past winners, current finalists and future entrants will join us in marking this milestone by sharing their memories and images on social media using #Thistles25.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. The Scottish Thistle Awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry and we look forward to rewarding them on 15 March.”
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.
For the full list of National Finalists go to: https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk/national-finalists1718/