Press release -

A Sporting Chance

FOUR of Scotland’s major sporting events have been shortlisted for a national award at Scotland’s tourism Oscars.

Musselburgh Racecourse Ladies Day, Salomon Skyline Scotland™, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Stirling Scottish Marathon will battle it out to be crowned Best Sporting Event at this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards National Final to be held on 14 March at the EICC.

The category which was launched as a national category for the first time this year celebrates the importance of sporting events in providing a platform for Scotland to show off its greatest assets.

The four finalists for Best Sporting Event are:

  • Musselburgh Racecourse Ladies Day – held in June, the event attracts a non-traditional audience to the race track and has a significant impact on the local economy, raising the profile of the town and surrounding area. Judges praised the event for its focus on sustainability and accessibility as well as their successful collaboration with Rogue Village to improve the spectator offer.
  • Salomon Skyline Scotland is an annual set of four skyrunning races which take place on consecutive days in the mountains around Kinlochleven in Lochaber. The year-on-year development of the event culminated in the World Championship in 2018 which attracted more than 2,000 runners from 60 countries. Judges praised the sheer sporting excellence of all the athletes competing in this location as well as the good community engagement and strong media profile.
  • Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open attracted more than 60,000 visitors when it was held at Gullane in 2018, as well as global media coverage. Judges praised the event’s engagement programme and the diverse range of activities on offer to attract a broad range of audiences.
  • Stirling Scottish Marathon invites participants to Run through History by taking in a number of historic locations in the local area. Judges noted that the event has been a game-changer for Stirling and its ambition to host major events. The event attracts more than 6,000 participants to take part in the half and full marathon.

The Scottish Thistle Awards celebrate success, innovation and excellence in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry. The Best Sporting Event category is open to any recurring sporting event involving a sporting activity whether a participating or spectator event which inspires and involves all guests, whether local or visiting.

VisitScotland Director of Events Paul Bush OBE said: “We are delighted with the strong calibre of sporting events shortlisted for this award, which is a reflection of the excellence and innovation that makes Scotland the perfect stage for Sporting Events.

“This category is a chance to celebrate the contribution that sporting events make to the national economy and recognise the important role they play in providing a platform for Scotland to show off its greatest features to audiences around the world.”

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:

“On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all of those sporting events shortlisted for the national final. The Scottish Thistle Awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry and we look forward to celebrating another fantastic year of excellence, innovation and best practice with all our wonderful national finalists in March.”

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 Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:


  • Tourism


  • eventscotland
  • scottish thistle awards


  • Scotland

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’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 five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • 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
  • 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

Scotland’s Themed Years

  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.

Press contacts

Amelia Whittaker

Press contact Senior Corporate Press Officer - Regional Contact for media enquiries on: South Region; Edinburgh and Lothians; Food and Drink; Scottish Thistle Awards 01750 723806

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