Thistle do nicely!

Press release   •   Mar 06, 2015 01:01 GMT

A Michelin-starred restaurant, an Aberdeenshire pub, a whisky distillery on Islay and a man instrumental in bringing the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles were among those to be crowned tourism champions last night (5th March)

A total of 13 winners received Scottish Thistle Award during a glittering final ceremony at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, hosted by TV and radio star Edith Bowman.

Among the winners were Edinburgh-based eateries Mimi’s Bakehouse and The Kitchin, The Enchanted Forest in Perthshire, Auchrannie Resort on Arran and Islay’s Laphroaig Distillery.

Peter Lederer - who was instrumental in bringing the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles - was named the winner of the prestigious Silver Thistle Award, given to an individual who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the country’s tourism industry.

Having worked in Scottish tourism for over three decades, the former Chairman of Gleneagles was also recognised for his work in transforming the Perthshire hotel into one of the country’s most luxurious resorts as well as his passion for improving. quality, educational standards and training opportunities within the Scottish tourism industry.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish tourism industry is full of dedicated businesses providing world-class standards that is second to none. Last year we all witnessed Scotland performing at its very best and our welcome and hospitality were recognised right across the globe.

“I am delighted to present Peter Lederer with the Silver Thistle Award which is well deserved. For many years he has worked tirelessly to promote the tourism industry at home and overseas. He was instrumental in the successful Scottish bid for the Ryder Cup and since then has worked on behalf of the tourism industry and of Scotland to ensure that Scotland cemented its reputation as the Home of Golf.”

This year the Scottish Thistle Awards also extended a special thank you to the people of Glasgow for the warm welcome they had offered to guests during the major events of 2014.

Led by panel of experts from the Scottish tourism industry, the awards celebrate tourism businesses or suppliers across the region who have gone the extra mile to offer an outstanding visitor experience.

With a particular focus on customer service, this year, for the very first time, members of the public were invited to nominate their tourism champions, with judges determining the final winners. Entries were made across a range of different categories including Friendliest Pub, Most Hospitable Hotel, and Our Warmest Welcome.

Stephen Carter OBE, VisitScotland Board Member and Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “2014 was an exceptional year for Scottish tourism, it was the year we welcomed the world. I’d like to congratulate all our tourism champions for their dedication and commitment to Scotland’s tourism industry. Tourism is at the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, and all those nominated, are leading the way when it comes to making our country a fantastic place to visit and do business..

“The Scottish Thistle Awards is about celebrating excellence, sharing best practice and inspiring a stronger, more cohesive sector. It is important that we continue to recognise those going the extra mile to enhance the visitor experience.

“On behalf of the panel, I’d urge everyone, if you have been impressed by somewhere you have visited, inspired by people you have met or just want to shine the spotlight on the great work that is happening in your local area, get online and make a nomination for the next Scottish Thistle Awards!”

The Scottish Thistle Awards is led by several organisations, including VisitScotland, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.

Nominations are now open for the Scottish Thistle Awards 2015/2016. Using a simple and easy online application form, nominations can be submitted by individuals, by others in industry or by the general public.

To enter or for further information on the Scottish Thistle Awards visit:

Full list of national Scottish Thistle Award winners 2015:

Category / Award Title Winner
Forestry Commission Scotland - Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience Award Kilda Cruises (Isle of Harris)
J. Thomson Colour Printers - Best Visitor Attraction Award Laphroaig Distillery (Isle of Islay)
Best Holiday Accommodation Award Eagle Brae (Beauly)
Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House Award Craigatin House & Courtyard (Perthshire)
Fishers Services Most Hospitable Hotel Award Prestonfield (Edinburgh)
Friendliest Pub / Bar Award Cheers (Fraserburgh)
Best Informal Dining Experience Award Mimi’s Bakehouse (Edinburgh)
Auchentoshan Distillery and Visitor Centre - Best Restaurant Experience Award The Kitchin (Edinburgh)
Our Warmest Welcome Award Cruise Forth Welcome Volunteers (Edinburgh & Fife)
ScotRail - Best Event or Festival Award The Enchanted Forest (Perthshire)
Creative Ambition Auchrannie Resort (Isle of Arran)
Discovering Scotland Award Helen Fraser - Afternoon Tea Tours (Edinburgh)
Silver Thistle Peter Lederer CBE (Perthshire)

  • Glenisle Hotel & Bistro on the Isle of Arran received a special commendation in the Fishers Services Most Hospitable Hotel Award category

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation has three key roles:
    1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
    2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
    3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • 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.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • 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 tourism in Scotland go to

Year of Food and Drink 2015

  • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
  • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
  • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
  • For more information, visit