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Scottish Thistle Awards

Thistle be rewarding

The audio and visual transformation of one of Scotland’s most iconic 20th century buildings, the hotel of Scots tennis ace Andy Murray and the 150-year-old cultural ‘home’ of Scotland are in the running for a top tourism award.

The shortlist for the regional finals of the Scottish Thistle Awards, which recognise hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service, has been announced today (3 October).

It sees some of Scotland’s major attractions, biggest events and top-class accommodation and eateries, compete for the coveted regional accolades.

Hinterland, which launched the Festival of Architecture 2016 as part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, luxury hotel Cromlix and the National Museum of Scotland, which celebrated its 150th anniversary this year with the opening of ten new galleries, are among the nominees. Nominees also include: the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, Balmoral Hotel, The Helix, Edinburgh Gin, Go Ape Aberfoyle and Born in the Borders.

Shortlisted entrants, who represent the best in innovation, excellence and quality in the industry, will go head-to-head at regional finals held across Scotland next month with winners going on to the glittering Scottish Thistle Awards National final to be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in March 2017.

This year saw a record-breaking number of entries, totalling 715 across the 15 regional categories, amounting to a 16% increase on last year. Entrants were shortlisted by a panel of industry experts.

The regional categories, 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.

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “It is fantastic to see a high calibre of shortlisted entrants for this year’s awards from an amazing record-breaking number of entries. The Scottish tourism industry and hospitality sector prides itself on delivering a rewarding experience for visitors and we are delighted to recognise those deserving nominees for their dedication to quality.

“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 are a chance to celebrate the shining stars of innovation and excellence in our tourism and hospitality sector and recognise those who strive to offer visitors a truly memorable experience of Scotland. On behalf of the panel I’d like to wish all the nominees the best of luck for the upcoming regional finals.”

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.

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

• The Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothians & Borders Regional Finals will jointly take place at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh on 10 November 2016.


• The West Regional Final will take place at Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on 24 November 2016.


• The Highlands and Islands Regional Final, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, will take place at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on 4 November 2016.


• 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 in Aberdeen on 25 November 2016.


For a full list of shortlisted finalists go to: https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk/regional-finalists16/

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