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Thistle break records

Press Release   •   Jul 28, 2016 15:24 BST

Winners of the Scottish Thistle Awards 2015/2016

The Scottish Thistle Awards is celebrating this month after receiving a record-breaking number of entries for this year’s awards.

Scottish tourism’s equivalent of the Oscars saw 715 entries across the 15 regional categories, up 16% on last year’s record-breaking figure.

The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in their 24th year, celebrate innovation, excellence and quality among hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.

Entrants will now be shortlisted by a panel of industry experts and the finalists will go head-to-head at four special regional ceremonies held in November.

Those regional ceremonies cover: Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothians & Borders; West; Highlands and Islands, which will be organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards; Aberdeen City and Shire, which will be organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

Winners will then go on to represent their respective region in the glittering national Scottish Thistle Awards final held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in March 2017.

This year’s awards will be the first overseen by new Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, Rebecca Brooks.

Ms Brooks, who has taken over from Stephen Carter OBE, is Managing Director of Abbey Tours Scotland, former Chair of the Scottish Destination Management Association and a member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance Board.

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have received a record number of entries for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards which is testament to the continued growth and quality that the Scottish tourism industry prides itself on.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience; it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of our country’s economy.

“The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in an incredible 24th year, are a chance to reward those shining examples of innovation and excellence in the tourism industry, and for sharing best practice, and we look forward to sharing those success stories at the regional finals in November.”

The Scottish Thistle Awards are 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.

The 15 regional categories, which are aligned with the Scottish Tourism Strategy 2020, include ‘Friendliest pub/bar’ and ‘Innovation in Tourism’, as well as new awards such as ‘Regional Rising Star’ – awarding young people aged 30 and under who have shown real passion for tourism – and ‘Tourism & Hospitality Hero’ – celebrating those front line staff, from tour guides to front of house, who provide exceptional service and a personal touch.

For further information on the Scottish Thistle Awards visit: www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk

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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’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
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme

ERDF.