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Image: Group shot of the Regional winners for Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothian & Borders at the Regional Final event

PUBLISHED: 24 November 2017

Scottish Thistle Awards celebrate crème de la crème of regional tourism industry

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 Edinburgh landed 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 Limited were 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.


Scottish Thistle Awards
c/o VisitScotland
Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG
0131 472 2228


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