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A joust cause

Press Release   •   Oct 08, 2014 13:44 BST

Knights on horseback will be taking on scientists and New Year revellers in the 2014 Scottish Thistle Awards.

In next month’s Central South East regional final, ‘Spectacular Jousting’ at Linlithgow Palace, which is looked after by Historic Scotland, is up against Edinburgh International Science Festival and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in the Best Event or Festival category.

In the same category in the Central South West region, the Wickerman Festival in Dumfries & Galloway will take on Glasgow Film Festival and Wigtown Book Festival while, in Central South East, St Andrews-based land yachting company Blown Away, Foxlake Adventures in East Lothian – Scotland’s first cable wakeboard park – and The Big Tree Society, in the Knoydart Peninsula, will compete for the title of Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience. 

Now in its 22nd year, the Scottish Thistle Awards is organised and delivered by VisitScotland but, as announced earlier this year, is now led by several organisations, including VisitScotland, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards (the official partner of the Scottish Thistle Awards for the Highlands region) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.

The Awards celebrate tourism businesses or suppliers which have gone the extra mile to offer an outstanding visitor experience.

For the very first time, members of the public were this year invited to nominate their tourism champions, with a particular focus on customer service.

Entries were then made across a range of different categories including Friendliest Pub/Bar, Most Hospitable Hotel, and Our Warmest Welcome. Those shortlisted will compete not just for a regional award, but also the opportunity to represent their region at the glittering national final at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow on 5 March 2015 – the closing night of Scottish Tourism week.

A total of 670 businesses were nominated, 555 businesses entered the regional heats and there will be up to 48 finalists competing for 12 awards at the national final.

A panel comprising some of the most senior figures in Scottish tourism as well as tourism ambassadors such as Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart, television presenter Kaye Adams and Geoff Ellis, the man behind T in the Park, will be responsible for determining the winners in each category.Industry page for further information.

Stephen Carter OBE, VisitScotland Board Member and Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “This has been an exceptional year for Scottish tourism with the Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and the events of Homecoming Scotland. The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance for us to celebrate and reward the hard work, dedication and innovation taking place throughout the Scottish tourism industry.”

• The Central South East Regional Final will take place at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on 5 November 2014

• The Central South West Regional Final will take place at Hampden Park in Glasgow on 7 November 2014

• The Highlands and Islands Regional Final will take place at Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on 7 November 2014

• The North East & Tayside Regional Final will take place at Perth Racecourse on 11 November 2014

Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
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