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Image: Group shot of the West regional winners at the Regional Final event

PUBLISHED: 27 October 2017

Tourism talent named best in the region at the Scottish Thistle Awards

The best in the west of Scotland have been recognised in the country’s most prestigious regional tourism awards. 

A total of 16 tourism businesses struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for the west, which took place last night (Thursday 26 October) at Glasgow’s Science Centre.

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.

Winners included: The Hillcrest House Guest House who won Most Hospitable B&B Guest House, Forest Way on White Loch which picked up the award for Best Accommodation Provider, while Trigony House Hotel was named The Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel to make it a hat trick for Dumfries and Galloway’s accommodation providers.

Glasgow Film Festival won the Caledonian MacBrayne –Best Cultural Event or Festival Award. Since creation in 2005, the event has become one of Scotland’s fastest growing film festivals.

The Open, Royal Troon 2016, claimed the prize for Best Sporting Event. The prestigious competition attracted 173,000 spectators to South Ayrshire, generating a massive economic impact for Scotland and the local economy.

VisitArran was presented with the Working Together for Tourism award for demonstrating excellent collaboration and a strong working together ethos in positioning Arran as a must visit destination.

The Hielan Jessie Bar was named as the region’s Best Bar/Pub, sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers. The traditional Glasgow pub was praised for its outstanding customer service.

The Basecamp Café, whose strong focus on using fresh and local ingredients impressed judges, won the prize for Best Informal Eating Experience.

The Best Restaurant Experience Award was picked up by The Number 16 Restaurant, based in the city’s west end. Judges praised the restaurant for its use of sourcing, for helping showcase local art and for excelling in the face of strong competition.

The ScotRail - Best Visitor Attraction Award was won by Heads of Ayr Farm Park, the attraction near Alloway impressed judges with its variety of products, its positive improvements on sustainability and its improvement to its digital offering.

Meanwhile, Galloway Activity Centre was presented with the Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience award. The friendly family-run outdoor activity centre operates on the beautiful shores of Loch Ken, offering a range of land and water-based activities and water sports tuition to families, individuals, and groups alike.

The Friends of Britannia Pancopticon Music Hall Trust were the first regional winners of the new Historic Environment Scotland: Best Heritage Tourism Experience Award. Described as a true hidden gem offering an authentic experience, the Trust has helped raise awareness and publically restore one of the world’s oldest surviving music halls.

Solway Tours was named the regional winner of the Geotourist - Innovation in Tourism Award. Described by judges as ‘flexible and forward thinking’, the tour operator offers a wide range of flexible, tailor-made tours for families or small groups in the South West of Scotland and beyond.

John Stevenson was named Tourism & Hospitality Hero for his work with Experience Scotland’s Wild, while Juliane Graskekamp who founded Glasgow bakery, Snugglemuffin, was named the HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star Award.

Finally, Ian McAndrew from the Blackaddie Restaurant with Rooms and Chair of Visit South West Scotland was named Regional Ambassador. This award recognises the importance of regional businesses contributing to the local economy.

The winners of the regional finals will now go on to fly the flag for the West 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 further four regional ceremonies are to take place next month: Central, Fife & Tayside and Lothians & Borders; Highlands and Islands, which will be organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards; and Aberdeen City and Shire, which will be organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards

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
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0131 472 2228


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