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Scottish Thistle Award reveals new national category

Some of the country’s leading business events are to be recognised as part of a prestigious tourism award scheme.

The Scottish Thistle Awards has launched a new national Best Business Event category to celebrate the importance of business events and the role they play in showcasing Scotland’s credentials and profile in a wide range of industry sectors such as life sciences and robotics, as well as being a leading destination for congresses, meetings and incentive programmes from around the world.

Business events have been identified as a key factor in the ability to succeed in Scotland’s drive to grow visitor spend by £1bn by 2020.

Over the past 25 years, the Scottish Thistle Awards has commended success, innovation and excellence in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Nominations are now open for the new category which will celebrate creative, logistically complex or prestigious Business Events including Incentive Programmes, Association Congresses, Product Launches, Corporate Conferences, and Exhibitions held in Scotland. Events must be aimed a private audience or delegates related to an organisation or company, and not public facing or ticketed.

Judges will be looking for events that demonstrate excellence and are aligned with development, local collaboration and benefits to Scotland’s visitor economy and profile.

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events and former Scottish Thistle Award winner, said: “It is an honour to win a Scottish Thistle Awards and be recognised for your contribution to Scotland’s valuable tourism sector.  The introduction of this category is a chance to celebrate the importance of business events and the role they play as the bridge between tourism and inward investment. As part of the judging panel, I’ll be looking for events that demonstrate excellence and innovation, helping promote Scotland as a place to live, work, visit and invest.”

Judy Rae, Chair of the Business Tourism for Scotland Industry Group added: “Scotland is home to some excellent business events, events that help strengthen our country’s reputation among the MICE community.  This category will allow us to shine a light on Scotland’s business tourism industry and recognise the sterling efforts of those who deliver significant creative events, aligned with developments, local collaborations and benefits to Scotland’s visitor economy and profile.”

With the deadline for entries to the regional awards now closed, a panel of industry experts will spend the summer creating a shortlist of applicants who will compete across 16 different regional categories in four special regional ceremonies in November. Winners will then go on to represent their respective region in the glittering national Scottish Thistle Award final held next year.

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:
“This year marks a very special anniversary for the Scottish Thistles Awards, it is our 25th anniversary. In that time we have recognised the dedication, talent and success of over 350 winners and this year is no exception.

“The level of entries to this year’s competition is testament to the continued quality that the Scottish tourism industry prides itself on. 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 full 16 regional categories are:
•  Fishers - Most Hospitable Hotel
•  Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
•  Best Accommodation Provider
•  Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience
•  Innovation in Tourism
•  Best Informal Eating Experience
•  Best Restaurant Experience
•  Best Pub/Bar
•  Regional Ambassador
•  Best Cultural Event or Festival
•  Best Sporting Event
•  Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
•  HIT Scotland Regional Rising Star
•  Working Together for Tourism
•  Best Visitor Attraction
•  Tourism & Hospitality Hero

Nominations can be made until Friday 22 September, events will then have until Friday 29 September to enter.

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