rising stars of tourism

Rising Stars at the Kelpies
Image: Jennifer Reoch (centre) is pictured with rising star nominees Amy Paton (left) and Craig MacDonald (right).

PUBLISHED: 6 November 2018

Young talent recognised at Scottish Thistle Awards

THE COUNTDOWN to this year’s Regional Finals of the Scottish tourism Oscars is on, as a group of young rising stars of the industry celebrate their nomination with host Jennifer Reoch.

Amy Paton (20) from Falkirk Community Trust and Craig MacDonald (20) owner of  Transcend Escape Rooms and Wee Heroes in Falkirk have both been shortlisted for a Scottish Thistle Award in the Regional Rising Star category, sponsored by Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland, in recognition of their passion for the tourism industry.  They are shortlisted alongside Becca Buckner (26), from the Scotch Whisky Experience, and Joe Posnett (22) from the Apex Hotel in Edinburgh.

TV presenter and former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch, will announce the winner of the Central, Fife & Tayside category, as well as the Lothian & Borders category at the glittering awards ceremony at the Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh, on 15 November. The winners, who will be announced later this month, will also receive a HIT Scotland scholarship.

The Scottish Thistle Awards are Scotland’s premier awards for the tourism industry. They celebrate success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.

They also offer the opportunity to recognise those people who have made valuable contributions to the sector across the country.

2018 saw more than 640 entries submitted, including well over a thousand nominations from members of the public keen to recognise hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.

Host Jennifer Reoch said: “I am so delighted to be once again part of the Scottish Thistle Awards, celebrating the very best of our incredible tourism industry. The quality of every single finalist is always exceptional so I am really excited to meet them all, especially the stars of the future - the enthusiasm and skill of each rising star candidate is exceptionally inspiring.”

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel, said: “In the Year of Young People 2018, it is fitting to pay special mention to our younger workforce, recognised in the Regional Rising Star categories. Our young people play a valuable role in the country’s thriving tourism and hospitality sector and it is fantastic to see our young tourism ambassadors recognised in this way. The future of the tourism industry lies with our young people, and the Regional Rising Star award celebrates an individual who shows real promise as a rising star in Scottish tourism and a passion for their future and the future of the industry.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.

“On behalf of the panel, I would like to congratulate all shortlisted entrants and wish each and every one of them the very best of luck at the regional finals.”

Becca Buckner from the Scotch Whisky Experience said: “I am really grateful for the opportunities that have developed me as a person over the past four years with so much training both in my retail role and through to the wider cultural training as part of my management apprenticeship.   I know how overwhelming a new job can be and I love being able to share my experience and training with new members of the team."

Craig MacDonald owner of Transcend Escape Rooms and Wee Heroes said:  “I am very grateful to be a Finalist for such a prestigious award having only started my first business 15 months ago. It means a lot to have gotten this far in the Regional Rising Star Award with Visit Scotland. I’m really excited for the night and wish the rest of my fellow finalists good luck on the day! “

Joe Posnett from the Apex Hotel in Edinburgh said: “Scottish hotels and tourism institutions have a great sense of unity that has established Scotland as one of the best locations to visit in the world. And not only that; this unification gives us a great platform and network to build upon to keep growing the Scotland brand. It is a brilliant industry to be a part of with so many opportunities to develop as a person and progress in your career. For me, getting into hospitality after school was the best thing I could have done, and now to have the privilege to be shortlisted for a Scottish Thistle Award is a huge reward.”

Amy Paton, Visitor Services Advisor, said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted in the regional rising star category for a Scottish Thistle Award. It is an honour to have been nominated so early into my career in the travel and tourism industry and I am really looking forward to the 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 Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

Regional finals will take place in different locations around Scotland covering areas such as Central Fife and Tayside, Lothian & Borders, West, the Highlands and Islands, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, and Aberdeen City and Shire, which is organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

  • The Highlands and Islands Regional Final, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, will take place at Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 2 November.
  • The Central, Fife & Tayside Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 15 November.
  • The Lothian & Borders Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 15 November.
  • The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen, on Friday 23 November.
  • The West Regional Final will take place at Oran Mor, Glasgow, on Thursday 29 November.


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