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Thistle make you laugh!

Press Release   •  Feb 26, 2016 10:55 GMT

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay will reveal the champions of Scottish tourism next month when he hosts the Scottish Thistle Awards. 

The Perth-born presenter will announce the winners during a glittering national final at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on Friday 18 March.

With the awards fast approaching, Fred got into the thistle ‘spirit’ at House for an Art Lover in Glasgow, a finalist in the Best Informal Eating Experience category at the awards.

The Country house, arts centre and cafe, in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, is built based on the unrealised works of famous Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Led by a panel of industry experts, the Scottish Thistle Awards celebrate tourism businesses or individuals across the country who have gone the extra mile to offer an outstanding visitor experience.

Awards which will be handed out on the night include, Friendliest Pub, Most Hospitable Hotel, Best Visitor Attraction and Best Cultural Event or Festival.

The flagship tourism awards are led by several organisations, including VisitScotland, Aberdeen City and Shire Awards, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Tourism Alliance and Wild Scotland.

Stephen Carter OBE, VisitScotland Board Member and Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: 

“I’m thrilled that Fred will be joining us at the Scottish Thistle Awards to celebrate the stars of Scottish tourism.

“Tourism is very much at the heartbeat of the Scottish economy - it supports communities and creates jobs in every corner of the country. It is therefore only right that we take the time to recognise those who continue to go that extra mile for visitors.

“From the industry panel’s point of view, every one of our amazing finalists should be extremely proud. They truly are leading ambassadors, positioning Scotland as the perfect place to visit. I look forward to celebrating all their achievements on the night.”

The Scottish Thistles Awards national final, part of the Scottish Tourism Week Signature Programme, will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Friday 18 March.

There are 13 Scottish Tourism Awards categories including:

  • Best Holiday Accommodation
  • Best Informal Eating Experience
  • Best Outdoor / Adventure Experience
  • Best Restaurant Experience
  • Braehead Foods - Hospitality Hero
  • Caledonian MacBrayne - Best Cultural Event or Festival
  • Edinburgh Airport - Tourism Everyone's Business
  • Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel
  • J Thomson Colour Printers - Best Sporting Event
  • Scotland CAN DO Award for Innovation in Tourism
  • ScotRail – Best Visitor Attraction
  • Tennent’s – Friendliest Pub/Bar
  • Caledonian MacBrayne Silver Thistle Award

For further information about the Scottish Thistle Awards visit:

Caption: Scottish Thistle Awards host Fred MacAulay gets into the ‘Thistle’ spirit at House for an Art Lover, finalist in the Best Informal Eating Experience category.

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.
  • 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 events in Scotland go to

    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 current 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).
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  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
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