Follow VisitScotland

Pick of the bunch

Press Release   •   Sep 29, 2017 10:32 BST

Andy Murray's Cromlix is among the Scottish Thistle Award regional nominees

A new multi-million pound Perthshire attraction, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, Andy Murray’s hotel, the ancestral home of Sir Walter Scott and The 145th Open at Royal Troon are among those shortlisted for top tourism awards, as the Scottish Thistle Awards celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The shortlist for the regional finals of the 2017/2018 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, has been announced, and sees some of the country’s biggest events, world-famous attractions and first-class accommodation providers compete for the coveted regional accolades.

Nominees include SSE Pitlochry Dam, StAnza, Cromlix, Abbotsford. The 145th Open at Royal Troon, The Enchanted Forest, Blair Drummond Safari, Rosslyn Chapel and Cameron House on Loch Lomond.

Shortlisted finalists will now battle it out against competition from across five different areas at regional award ceremonies to be held in October and November.

This year marks the ‘silver’ anniversary for the prestigious competition, which celebrates success, innovation, excellence and best practice in the country’s tourism and hospitality industry. Over the past 25 years, the Scottish Thistle Award has crowned more than 350 national winners.

2017 saw a record-breaking 734 entries submitted, including hundreds of 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: “It’s fantastic that in this special anniversary year, we’ve had such an overwhelming response to this year’s competition. These awards aim to find the crème de la crème of Scotland’s tourism industry, to recognise the shining lights who have shown real commitment and dedication to the industry.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance for us to celebrate those who work tirelessly to ensure that all visitors, whether from Scotland or further afield, enjoy a truly memorable experience.

“From the sheer volume and calibre of entries, it is clear that this year’s competition will be the fiercest yet and on behalf of the panel I’d like to congratulate all the shortlisted entrants and wish each and every one of them the very best of the 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 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 West Regional Final will take place at Glasgow Science Centre on Thursday 26 October 2017
  • The Highlands and Islands Regional Final, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, will take place at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on Friday 3 November 2017
  • The Lothian & Borders Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 23 November 2017
  • The Central, Fife & Tayside Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 23 November 2017
  • The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at the Ardoe House Hotel and Spa on Friday 24 November 2017
  • Regional finalists will battle it out across 16 different categories including Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel, Best Pub/Bar, Best Visitor Attraction and Tourism Hospitality Hero. In celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, the new award Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience will honour those who excel in bringing to life Scotland’s rich history, heritage and traditions.

    The full 16 regional categories are:

  • Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel
  • Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  • Best Accommodation Provider
  • Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience
  • Innovation in Tourism
  • Best Informal Eating Experience
  • Best Restaurant Experience
  • Best Pub/Bar
  • Regional Ambassador
  • Caledonian MacBrayne - Best Cultural Event or Festival
  • Best Sporting Event
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  • HIT Scotland Regional Rising Star
  • Working Together for Tourism
  • ScotRail - Best Visitor Attraction
  • Tourism & Hospitality Hero
  • For a full list of shortlisted finalists please visit: www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk

    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:
      1. 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
      2. 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
      3. 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
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. 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
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
    • 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)
    • 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