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The Final Thistle

Press release   •   Feb 22, 2018 10:22 GMT

A social media campaign has been launched to mark the silver anniversary of the Scottish Thistle Awards

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:


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 five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • 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
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • 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
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • 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:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality 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.
  • oEnterprise 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
  • oCulture – 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.