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Thistle be our Regional Stars

Scottish Thistle Awards Central and East Regional Winners 2018/2019 Credit Chris Watt Photography

Tourism talent in Central East and Tayside has been recognised in the country’s most prestigious tourism awards. 

More than 25  tourism businesses struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for the Central East & Tayside, and Lothian & Borders. which took place last night (Thursday 15 November) at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Thistle Awards is Scotland’s premier awards for the tourism industry, celebrating success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.

It also offers the opportunity to recognise those people who have made valuable contributions to the sector across the country.

2018 saw more than 640 entries submitted, including well over a thousand 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.

Winners for Central, Fife & Tayside included: The Engine Shed in Stirling won the Scotrail Best Visitor Attraction, Kirklands Hotel in Kinross was named The Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel. The Enchanted Forest won the Best Cultural Event or Festival, with Newton Farm Holidays & Tours being named the Best Outdoor/ Adventure Experience and Criton – Most Hospitable B&B/ Guest House. Thyme at Errichel Restaurant received the CalMac Best Eating Experience award and Leny Estate in Callander was named Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience. The Carnegie Library in Dunfermline received the Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience award, and Helicopter Glamping – Mains Farm Wigwams in Stirling received the Geotourist – Innovation in Tourism award.

Perth-based Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers was presented with the Edinburgh Airport Working Together for Tourism Award for their first consumer marketing campaign ‘Paws for a Break.’

The Boudingait in Cupar was named as the region’s Best Bar/Pub, sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers, for their continued commitment to demonstrating excellence in a variety of aspects, from serving fresh local food and drink to providing personal customer service.

Craig MacDonald, owner of Transcend Escape Rooms and Wee Heroes in Falkirk was named the HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star in recognition of his collaboration and involvement in the wider tourism industry, with judges commending his commitment to working with young people to develop the next generation of the tourism workforce.

And June Goodfellow of Taste Perthshire was named the region’s Tourism & Hospitality Hero for demonstrating passion and inspiration in her role. The Johnstons of Elgin Regional Ambassador award went to Wendy Barrie of the Scottish Food Guide. Wendy was commended for the passion that she shows in her job and for using her business to sell Scotland.

Winners for Lothian & Borders included: The Real Mary King’s Close won the Scotrail Best Visitor Attraction, Windlestraw in Walkerburn was named The Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel. Sleep in the Park won the Best Cultural Event or Festival, sponsored by Kinrara Distillery, with Macbackpackers being named the Best Outdoor/ Adventure Experience and Fauhope Country House in Gattonside the Criton – Most Hospitable B&B/ Guest House. Café St Honore received the Caledonian MacBrayne Best Eating Experience award and The Old Millhouse in Dalkeith was named Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience. The Real Mary King’s Close received the Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience award, and Invisible Cities received the Geotourist – Innovation in Tourism award.

The Guildford Arms in Edinburgh was named as the region’s Best Bar/Pub, sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers.

Marketing Edinburgh, Edinburgh World Heritage and ETAG were presented with the Edinburgh Airport Working Together for Tourism Award for their History of Edinburgh in 101 objects campaign.

Joe Posnett, Front Office Receptionist at the Apex Hotel in Edinburgh was named the HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star in recognition of his efforts to act as an advocate and ambassador for tourism, particularly young people.

And Kieran Rose, Front of House Manager at Borthwick Castle in Gorebridge was named the region’s Tourism & Hospitality Hero. The Johnstons of Elgin Regional Ambassador award went to Emma Chalmers, founder of Linlithgow-based Mary’s Meanders which promotes the town and local area.

The winners of both regional finals will now go on to fly the flag for the Central East & Tayside region, at the glittering national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards at the EICC in Edinburgh next March.

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said: “On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. They are a credit to themselves, their local area and the entire Scottish tourism sector.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.

“I would like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition.”

A total of five regional ceremonies will unveil which regional winners will compete in the national finals. Regional ceremonies have already taken place for the Highlands & Islands, which was organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen, on Friday 23 November. The West Regional Final will take place at Oran Mor, Glasgow, on Thursday 29 November.

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