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Thistle Awards help carve the future of tourism

Press Release   •   Jun 03, 2013 00:00 BST

Ripple sycamore from Fife, beech from Dunblane and oak from Dumfries are just a few of Scotland’s natural materials that have gone into creating this year’s Scottish Thistle Award trophies.

Craftsman Philip Coles, owner of The Woodworks based in Fife, has single-handedly and meticulously chiselled, carved, and buffed over 40 trophies that will be presented to regional winners of the Scottish Thistle Awards this week at ceremonies in Perth, New Lanark and Edinburgh and at the national ceremony in November.

Not only did Philip source all the materials from local estates, forests and streams, every single award is handmade in his workshop taking a day to complete just one. Each besoke trophy is a fitting tribute to the Year of Natural Scotland.

All the wood and stone used in the trophies has been sourced from across Scotland. Ripple sycamore from Solsgirth, Fife, oak from Dumfries, yew from Balcarres Estate, Fife, beech from Dunblane and river rock from Buccleuch Burn have all been used to make every award unique and one of a kind.

Speaking from his workshop, while putting the finishing touches to the trophies, Philip said:

“It has been a real pleasure and honour to create these awards and I’ve enjoyed every minute. Working with different materials from across Scotland to produce these amazing awards has been extremely satisfying and I’m delighted with the outcome.

“Given this is the Year of Natural Scotland, I can’t think of a more authentic and fitting tribute to the winners. Each award is completely unique and will make a welcome addition to any trophy cabinet!”   

Organised by VisitScotland, the Scottish Thistle Awards recognise the exceptional efforts made by tourism businesses throughout Scotland. Regional finals for the North East & Tayside, Central South West and Central South East will take place in Perth, New Lanark and Edinburgh respectively.

Winners in each category will go on to represent their respective regions at the gala national ceremony in November and, as with 2012, come together with the winners of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

The Scottish Thistle Awards celebrate excellence across the industry with special emphasis on quality and enhancing the overall visitor experience. VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme seeks to capitalise on this further and aims to position Scotland as one of the world’s best visitor destinations.

The three regional ceremonies are taking place on:

Tuesday 4 June - North East and Tayside - Battleby Conference Centre, Perth

Wednesday 5 June - Central South West - New Lanark Mill, New Lanark

Thursday 6 June - Central South East - The Hub, Edinburgh


For further information please contact:

James Lakie
Corporate Press Officer
Corporate Communications
Tel: 0131 472 2283

Notes 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 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.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to 
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  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry 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.
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