A world gymnastic championship held in Glasgow, two of Scotland’s biggest marathons, a dazzling event that launched this year’s Festival of Architecture and a west coast ferry service have all been named regional winners at Scottish tourism’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The 2016/2017 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, recognises hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.
Four regional ceremonies were held in November: Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothians & Borders; West; Highlands and Islands, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards; and Aberdeen City and Shire, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.
The Glasgow 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships picked up Event Connect Best Sporting Event for the West and will battle it out against Etape Loch Ness Cycle Sportive, Edinburgh Marathon Festival, FEI European Eventing Championship 2015 Blair Castle and the Braemar Gathering at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final next year.
Hinterland, created by Glasgow-based NVA to launch the Festival of Architecture, as part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, won Caledonian MacBrayne Best Cultural Event or Festival for the West and faces tough competition in the national shortlist which features Edinburgh's Hogmanay by Unique Events, Oban Winter Festival, Solas Festival and Celebrate Aberdeen.
Other notable regional winners include: Daniel Steel, Chief Executive Officer for Sail Scotland, who was an individual winner with the West Regional Ambassador award; Scot tennis star and world number one, Andy Murray, whose luxury hotel Cromlix was named J Thomson Colour Printers Best Restaurant Experience in Central, Fife and Tayside; Born in the Borders, awarded the Scotland Can Do Award for Innovation In Tourism for the Borders and Lothians due to its work to capitalise on the Borders Railway; ferry service CalMac took home the Edinburgh Airport Working Together for Tourism award, for its partnership working along the West Coast.
Scotland’s major attractions, biggest events and top-class accommodation and eateries, will now go on to compete for the coveted national prize at the glittering Scottish Thistle Awards National Final to be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in March 2017.
Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “A huge congratulations to all of the regional winners and I wish them the best of luck as they move forward to represent their own regions in the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final.
“It has been another record-breaking year of entries for the Scottish Thistle Awards and winners, and indeed all finalists, should be very proud of their achievements in such a highly competitive field.
“The Scottish tourism industry and hospitality sector prides itself on delivering a rewarding experience for visitors and success here is both recognition of excellence and innovation, and a sign of quality. It is their warm welcome, embodying the Spirit of Scotland, which makes the country a world-class destination for visitors.”
Michael Jones, Managing Director at Fishers, said: “Congratulations to all of the regional winners and finalists. The people who work in our tourism industry not only play a crucial role in the Scottish economy, but they are Scotland’s ambassadors too. Fishers also plays an important part in supporting Scotland’s tourism sector and we are proud to do so - and to be headline sponsors of the Scottish Thistle Awards. The pursuit of excellence within our industry is important for the whole sector and it's equally important that it's recognised.”
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 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.
For a full list of regional winners go to https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk
The full list of regional categories are:
- Most Hospitable Hotel
- Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
- Best Accommodation Provider
- Innovation in Tourism
- Best Informal Eating Experience
- Best Restaurant Experience
- Friendliest pub/bar
- Regional Ambassador (Regional category only – does not proceed to National Final)
- Best Cultural Event or Festival
- Best Sporting Event
- Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
- Regional Rising Star (Regional category only – does not proceed to National Final)
- Working Together for Tourism
- Best Visitor Attraction
- Tourism & Hospitality Hero
otes 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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- 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
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
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- 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.
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2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design
- 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 started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 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 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).
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- Join the conversation at #IAD2016