Press release -

Thistle Be Our Night!

Tourism talent in Central East, Borders and Tayside has been recognised in the country’s most prestigious tourism awards.

A total of 32 tourism businesses struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards joint regional finals for Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothian & Borders, which took place last night (Thursday 23 November) at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Scottish Thistle Awards, which celebrates success, innovation, excellence and best practice in the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Mhor Festival 2017 won the Caledonian MacBrayne – Best Cultural Event or Festival Award for Central, Fife & Tayside, with the Best Sporting Event prize for Lothian & Borders presented to Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

The Crail Food Festival, in Fife,was presented with the Working Together for Tourism Award for being a ‘great example of a local volunteer community working strongly together in partnership to develop and grow a successful and sustainable event’. While Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust scooped the same award for the Lothian and Borders.

Loch Earn Tourism Information BLiSS Trail 2017 was named the Central, Fife & Tayside regional winner of the Geotourist - Innovation in Tourism Award. Praised by judges for ‘Innovative and creative ideas which also have practical and business focus to develop a year round product, attract new audiences and build a sustainable platform for local businesses’.

Scottish Beer Tours in Edinburghlanded the same award for Lothian & Borders with judges particularly impressed with the tailoring of tours based on the requirements and interests of individuals.

Other winners included: Lochend Chalets in Port of Monteith, Ballintaggart Farm in Grandtully, Venachar Lochside in Callander, The Black Watch Museum in Perth, Hidden Door in Edinburgh, Kingsmuir House in Peebles and Foxlake Adventures in East Lothian.

Katya Adam of Gloagburn Farm Shop and Peter Gilchrist of Peter Co & Associates Limitedwere named the HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Stars for showing real passion for people.

There was double success for Peter Wilson of Cruise Forth who was named Regional Ambassador and Tourism & Hospitality Hero for Central, Fife & Tayside. Judges hailed Peter as ‘an excellent example of putting the customer at the centre of the experience and presenting Scotland as a welcoming destination.’

The winners of the regional finals will now go on to fly the flag for their respective region, at the glittering national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards at the EICC in Edinburgh next March.

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said: “On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. They are a credit to themselves, their local area and the entire Scottish tourism sector.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.

“As we prepare to celebrate our 25th anniversary I’d like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition.”

A total of five regional ceremonies will unveil which regional winners will compete in the national finals. Regional ceremonies have already taken place for the Central Fife & Tayside, Lothian & Borders, the West and the Highlands & Islands, which was organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. A final regional final for Aberdeen City and Shire, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place today (24 November) at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen.

The Scottish Thistle Awards is 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.

For more information go to


The full list of winners for Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothian & Borders

Category Winning Business Location Local Authority
Best Accommodation Provider Lochend Chalets Stirling Stirling
Best Accommodation Provider Airhouses Lauder Scottish Borders
J Thomson Colour Printers - Best Bar/Pub The Boudingait Cupar Fife
J Thomson Colour Printer Best Pub/Bar Teuchters Landing Edinburgh Edinburgh
Caledonian MacBrayne - Best Cultural Event or Festival Mhor Festival 2017 Balquidder Stirling
Caledonian MacBrayne Best Cultural Event or Festival Hidden Door Edinburgh Edinburgh
Historic Environment Scotland- Best Heritage Tourism Experience The Black Watch Museum Perth Perth & Kinross
Historic Environment Scotland Best Heritage Tourism Experience National Trust for Scotland - Robert Smail’s Printing Works Innerleithen Scottish Borders
Best Informal Eating Experience Venachar Lochside Callander Stirling
Best Informal Eating Experience Seasons - Full of Flavour Melrose Scottish Borders
Best Outdoor / Adventure Experience Nae Limits Pitlochry Perth & Kinross
Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience Foxlake Adventures Dunbar East Lothian
Best Restaurant Experience: The Wee Restaurant North Queensferry Fife
Best Restaurant Experience Firebrick Brasserie Lauder Scottish Borders
Best Sporting Event: Blair Castle International Horse Trials & Country Fair 2016 Blair Athol Perth & Kinross
Best Sporting Event Edinburgh Marathon Festival Edinburgh Edinburgh
ScotRail – Best Visitor Attraction Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery Aberfeldy Perth & Kinross
ScotRail Best Visitor Attraction Summerhall Distillery Edinburgh Edinburgh
Geotourist - Innovation in Tourism Loch Earn Tourism Information BLiSS Trail 2017 Loch Earn Stirling
Geotourist - Innovation in Tourism Scottish Beer Tours Edinburgh Edinburgh
Most Hospitable B&B / Guest House Ballintaggart Farm Grandtully Perth & Kinross
Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House Kingsmuir House Peebles Scottish Borders
Fishers- Most Hospitable Hotel: Moor of Rannoch Rannoch Moor Perth & Kinross
Fishers Most Hospitable Hotel Windlestraw Walkerburn Scottish Borders
Regional Ambassador Peter Wilson, Cruise Forth Fife Fife
Regional Ambassador Fred Berkmiller, l’escargot blanc and l’escargot bleu Edinburgh Edinburgh
Tourism and Hospitality Hero Douglas Johnston, Radical Travel Group Ltd. (HAGGiS Adventures and Highland Explorer Tours) Edinburgh Edinburgh
Tourism & Hospitality Hero Peter Wilson, Cruise Forth Fife Fife
HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star Katya Adam, Gloagburn Farm Shop Perth Perth & Kinross
HIT Scotland Regional Rising Star Peter Gilchrist, Peter Co & Associates Limited Galashiels Scottish Borders
Working Together for Tourism Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust Edinburgh Edinburgh
Working Together for Tourism: Crail Food Festival Crail Fife


  • Tourism


  • scottish thistle awards
  • corporate communications


  • Scotland

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
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  • 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:
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    3. 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
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. 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
    6. 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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  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017

Press contacts

Hamish Hutchinson

Corporate Press Officer - National Contact for media enquiries on: Business Events/Tourism; Film Tourism; Outer Hebrides 0131 472 2283

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