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Cream of the Thistles crop

Press Release   •   Sep 28, 2018 13:22 BST

The Riverside Museum in Glasgow is shortlisted in the Best Visitor Attraction category. Please credit Kenny Lam

THE World’s Largest Ever Sleepout, Scotland’s Building Conservation Centre, silent disco dancing tours, Glasgow’s transport museum, a café that sources local produce with the minimum carbon footprint and helicopter glamping are among those in the running for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards.

The shortlist for the regional finals of the 2018/19 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, has been revealed, and sees some of the country’s biggest events, world-famous attractions and first-class accommodation providers compete for the coveted regional accolades.

This year’s nominees include Sleep in the Park, the Engine Shed, Silent Adventures Ltd, the Real Food Café, Riverside Museum and Mains Farm Wigwams.

Shortlisted finalists will now come head-to-head with competition from other tourism businesses in their area at five different regional award ceremonies to be held in November.

The Scottish Thistle Awards are Scotland’s premier awards for the tourism industry. They celebrate success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.

They also offer the opportunity to recognise those people who have made valuable contributions to the sector across the country.

2018 saw more than 640 entries submitted, including well over a thousand nominations from members of the public keen to recognise hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel, said: “We have once again been delighted by this year’s response to the Scottish Thistle Awards. These rewards aim to shine the spotlight on the businesses and individuals who have shown real commitment and dedication to tourism in Scotland.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change. The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance for us to celebrate those who work tirelessly to create a destination and customer experience worth talking about, ensuring that all visitors, whether from Scotland or further afield, enjoy a truly memorable time in our country.

“On behalf of the panel, I would like to congratulate all shortlisted entrants and wish each and every one of them the very best of luck at the regional finals.”

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 Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

Regional finals will take place in different locations around Scotland covering areas such as Central Fife and Tayside, Lothian & Borders, West, the Highlands and Islands, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, and Aberdeen City and Shire, which is organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

  • The Highlands and Islands Regional Final, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, will take place at Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 2 November.
  • The Central, Fife & Tayside Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 15 November.
  • The Lothian & Borders Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 15 November.
  • The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen, on Friday 23 November.
  • The West Regional Final will take place at Oran Mor, Glasgow, on Thursday 29 November.

The full 14 regional categories are:

  • ScotRail - Best Visitor Attraction
  • Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel
  • Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience
  • Criton - Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  • Best Eating Experience
  • J Thomson Colour Printers - Best Bar / Pub
  • Johnstons of Elgin - Regional Ambassador
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  • Edinburgh Airport - Working Together For Tourism
  • Tourism & Hospitality Hero
  • HIT Scotland - Regional Rising Star
  • Best Cultural Event or Festival
  • Historic Environment Scotland - Best Heritage Tourism Experience
  • Geotourist - Innovation in Tourism Award

For a full list of shortlisted finalists, please visit: 

Notes to Editors

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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • Equality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • Enterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • Culture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.