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Published on : Friday, July 29, 2016
Scottish tourism’s equivalent of the Oscars saw 715 entries across the 15 regional categories, up 16% on last year’s record-breaking figure.
The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in their 24th year, celebrate innovation, excellence and quality among hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.
Entrants will now be shortlisted by a panel of industry experts and the finalists will go head-to-head at four special regional ceremonies held in November.
Those regional ceremonies cover: Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothians & Borders; West; Highlands and Islands, which will be organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards; Aberdeen City and Shire, which will be organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.
Winners will then go on to represent their respective region in the glittering national Scottish Thistle Awards final held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in March 2017.
This year’s awards will be the first overseen by new Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, Rebecca Brooks.
Ms Brooks, who has taken over from Stephen Carter OBE, is Managing Director of Abbey Tours Scotland, former Chair of the Scottish Destination Management Association and a member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance Board.
Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have received a record number of entries for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards which is testament to the continued growth and quality that the Scottish tourism industry prides itself on.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience; it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of our country’s economy.
“The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in an incredible 24th year, are a chance to reward those shining examples of innovation and excellence in the tourism industry, and for sharing best practice, and we look forward to sharing those success stories at the regional finals in November.”
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 15 regional categories, which are 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.