A ‘green’ destination, a ferry service which sails to over 20 destinations on the west coast, and the biggest Hogmanay party in Scotland, were among those crowned the best in Scotland at Scottish tourism’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Comrie Croft near Crieff won the Scotland CAN DO Award for Innovation In Tourism, Caledonian MacBrayne, known as CalMac Ferries, picked up Edinburgh Airport - Working Together For Tourism, while Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, produced by Unique Events, took home Caledonian MacBrayne - Best Cultural Event or Festival, at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final last night (16 March).
Thistle judges noted the “impressive impact” that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has had on the local economy with 99% occupancy for 31 December, praised social enterprise Comrie Croft for its “collaboration across the region” and described CalMac, headquartered in Gourock, as a “lifeline service focussed on the customer”.
Inverness business owner, Freda Newton MBE, who owns and manages Loch Ness by Jacobite, was rewarded for her role in tourism with the prestigious Caledonian MacBrayne Silver Thistle Award which was presented by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.
She received the prize for her “pivotal role in the region’s tourism industry” including her work as an ambassador for Scotland on international business trips and was described as “an inspirational role model to women” and “mentor to young entrepreneurs”.
The glittering ceremony, held during Scottish Tourism Week, took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre hosted by TV presenter and Deacon Blue drummer, Dougie Vipond, and presenter and former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch.
The 2016/2017 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, recognise innovation, excellence and success in the hospitality and tourism industry – rewarding hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions, events and individuals who go that extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.
There were winners from across Scotland: from Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre (Best Outdoor/Adventure) in Dumfries and Galloway to Mill of Nethermill Holidays (Best Accommodation Provider) in Aberdeenshire, the National Museum of Scotland (ScotRail - Best Visitor Attraction) in Edinburgh to Kinloch Lodge Hotel & Restaurant (Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel) on the Isle of Skye.
Comedian Des Clarke and Scottish band, Prides, provided the evening’s entertainment.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
The Scottish Thistle Awards recognise excellence and reward the creativity and innovation that underpins Scotland’s tourism sector.
“Scotland’s tourism businesses, and their 217,000 jobs, work incredibly hard to make our country a must-visit destination, and ensure visitors are assured of a warm welcome.”
Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said:
“Congratulations to all of the winners at the 2016/17 Scottish Thistle Awards National Final. They represent the best of the best in Scotland and epitomise the strength and depth of the tourism and hospitality experience across the country.
“The Scottish tourism industry and hospitality sector prides itself on delivering a rewarding experience for visitors and all of our finalists should be proud of their achievements in reaching the final – which, in itself, is both a recognition of excellence and innovation, and a sign of quality.
“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy – supporting communities and creating jobs throughout the year in every corner of the country. We look forward to the 2017/18 Scottish Thistle Awards when we will celebrate the achievements of our industry colleagues during our 25th anniversary year.”
Scott Inglis, Commercial Director at Fishers, said:
“We have supported the Scottish Thistle Awards for three years and are proud to have been the headline sponsor this year. At Fishers we don’t just think of ourselves as a laundry company, we know that we are an important part of Scotland’s tourism sector and we’re happy to show our support to other businesses in this sector.
“Last night we celebrated all the hard work that goes into making tourism a success in Scotland and there is a great deal to be proud of. All of the finalists deserve to be commended for their contribution to tourism and we would like to extend our congratulations to all of the winners.”
This year the Scottish Thistle Awards received a record-breaking number of entries, totalling 715, amounting to a 16% increase on last year.
The flagship tourism awards are organised by VisitScotland and led by an industry panel, including 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 finals were: Central, Fife & Tayside; 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.
- ENDS -
The Scottish Thistle Awards National Final winners
|Category||Winner||Local Authority area|
|Caledonian MacBrayne Silver Thistle Award||Freda Newton MBE||Highland|
|Event Connect - Best Sporting Event||Glasgow 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships||Glasgow|
|Caledonian MacBrayne - Best Cultural Event or Festival||Oban Winter Festival (special commendation)Unique Events - Edinburgh's Hogmanay||Oban, Argyll and ButeEdinburgh|
|Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel||Kinloch Lodge Hotel & Restaurant||Isle of Skye, Highland|
|Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House||Brookford B&B||St John's Town of Dalry, Dumfries and Galloway|
|Best Accommodation Provider||Mill of Nethermill Holidays||Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire|
|J Thomson Colour Printers - Best Restaurant Experience||GAMBA - Seafood Restaurant & Bar||Glasgow|
|Best Informal Eating Experience||No. 10 Bar & Restaurant||Aberdeen|
|Friendliest Pub/Bar||MacGochans||Isle of Mull, Argyll and Bute|
|Best Outdoor/Adventure||Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre||Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway|
|ScotRail - Best Visitor Attraction||National Museums Scotland||Edinburgh|
|Braehead Foods - Tourism & Hospitality Hero||Jean Ryrie, Jurys Inn, Aberdeen AirportHamish Reid, The Abbotsford Trust (special commendation)||AberdeenMelrose, Scottish Borders|
|Edinburgh Airport - Working Together For Tourism||Calmac Ferries Ltd||Gourock, Inverclyde|
|Scotland CAN DO Award for Innovation In Tourism||Comrie Croft||Crieff, Perth and Kinross|
Notes to Editors
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
- Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
- 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.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
- The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- 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)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
- 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017