the final countdown!


THE shortlist for four national categories at the Scottish Thistle Awards has been announced. As part of this year’s first ever media partnership for the Scottish Thistle Awards, the shortlist was unveiled across News Scotland titles – the Times and Sunday Times - over the weekend.

Tourism businesses and events shortlisted for the Best Business Event, Outstanding Sporting Event, Best Luxury Experience and the Responsible Tourism Award will now go forward to be crowned the national winner at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final to be held on 9 February at the EICC.

The Outstanding Sporting Event category aims to celebrate and recognise outstanding sporting events delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortlisted in this category are:

  • The 150th Open which took place in St Andrews, the Home of Golf, in July 2022. 
  • UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William, May 2022.
  • Skyline Scotland, Lochaber, September 2021.
  • The Scottish Football Association representing the Local Organising Structure for UEFA EURO 2020 in Glasgow in June and July 2021. 
The Best Luxury Experience category aims to celebrate unique tour offerings or experience packages, with a focus on exclusivity and attention to detail. This award celebrates those businesses bringing luxury to the Scottish visitor experience. Shortlisted in this category are: 

  • Glenturret Whisky Distillery, Perthshire 
  • Glenmorangie House, Tain
  • The Hideaway Experience, Angus
The Responsible Tourism Award is a new category for 2022, celebrating businesses and events which have made demonstrable progress embedding responsible tourism values into their core activity. Responsible Tourism focuses on a collaborative approach for re-building and growing the value of tourism, in a way that makes better places for people to live and visit, in every corner of Scotland. 

Shortlisted in this category are:
  • Comrie Croft, Perthshire
  • Step Change by Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC)
  • Nevis Range Mountain Experience, Fort William
The Best Business Event category celebrates business events as catalysts for economic and social transformation. Shortlisted in this category are:

  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine which took place on 2 September 2021 
  • The British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) Annual Congress – P&J Live, Aberdeen on 21 to 24 September, 2021
  • Scottish Event Campus (SEC) COP 26 in November 2021

In addition, the five winners of the Best Visitor Attraction Award, including those from the Aberdeen City & Shire Tourism Awards and the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards have been entered into an online poll where readers of the Scottish Sun will be asked to vote for the Great Day Out Award. This award will also be announced at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final in February. To find out more and to vote, visit 

Steven Walker, VisitScotland Board member and Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel, said: “Tourism is a force for good. Its impact spreads far beyond the industry itself – it creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy.    

“The Scottish Thistle Awards shine the spotlight on the very best of Scotland’s tourism industry. They are a chance for us to recognise the businesses and individuals who have worked tirelessly in the last two years to create the fantastic destination and visitor experiences that Scotland is famous for.   “They also celebrate innovation, collaboration and sustainable practices as we work towards delivering the ambition of the national tourism strategy Outlook 2030, for Scotland to be a world leader in 21st century tourism. 

“I wish all the finalists the best of luck ahead of the National Final in February.” 

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered by VisitScotland, in partnership with Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) and supported by a panel of industry representatives.  This year’s sponsors of the Scottish Thistle Awards include headline sponsor, Johnstons of Elgin, Fishers, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, HIT Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Abbey UK.   


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