The Scottish Thistle Awards this month paid homage to some of Scotland’s most outstanding tourism businesses, with the winners including an Edinburgh bakery, an Aberdeenshire pub and a whisky distillery on the Isle of Islay.
Scottish Thistle Awards
Scotland’s tourism industry generates £11 billion of revenue every year and helps thousands of visitors learn about, enjoy and experience the delights that the country has to offer.
The Scottish Thistle Awards aim to pay tribute to the hard work, innovation and passion of the people working in this fast-evolving industry, and shine a spotlight on some of our best tourism businesses.
Taking place as part of Scottish Tourism Week on 5 March, this year’s awards highlighted 13 companies or individuals from all across Scotland, with the winners including Edinburgh’s Mitchelin-starred restaurant, The Kitchin, and the Cheers pub in Fraserburgh, which scooped the prize for the friendliest pub.
Other winning hospitality providers included the Eagle Brae in Beauly; Craigatin House and Courtyard in Perthshire; and Edinburgh-based establishments Mimi’s Bakehouse and the Prestonfield Hotel.
For far-flung adventures, Kilda Cruises on the Isle of Harris, Laphroaig Distillery on the Isle of Islay and the Enchanted Forest in Perthshire all picked up awards, while Helen Fraser’s Afternoon Tea Tours in Edinburgh and the Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran received the Discovering Scotland Award and the Creative Ambition Award respectively.
The Cruise Forth Welcome volunteers won the silverware for Our Warmest Welcome Award and, while missing out on the Fishers Services Most Hospitable Hotel Award to the Prestonfield, the Glenisle Hotel and Bistro on the Isle of Arran received a special commendation in the same category.
Peter Lederer - who was instrumental in bringing the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles - was named the winner of the prestigious Silver Thistle Award, given to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the country’s tourism industry.
“2014 was an exceptional year for Scottish tourism - it was the year we welcomed the world,” said Stephen Carter OBE, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel.
“I’d like to congratulate all our tourism champions for their dedication and commitment to Scotland’s tourism industry. Tourism is at the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, and all those nominated are leading the way when it comes to making our country a fantastic place to visit and do business.
“The Scottish Thistle Awards is about celebrating excellence, sharing best practice and inspiring a stronger, more cohesive sector. It is important that we continue to recognise those going the extra mile to enhance the visitor experience.
“On behalf of the panel, I’d urge everyone, if you have been impressed by somewhere you have visited, inspired by people you have met or just want to shine the spotlight on the great work that is happening in your local area, get online and make a nomination for the next Scottish Thistle Awards.”
The rest of the best
See our full list of national Scottish Thistle 2015 Awards winners below:
Forestry Commission Scotland - Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience Award
Kilda Cruises (Isle of Harris)
J. Thomson Colour Printers - Best Visitor Attraction Award
Laphroaig Distillery (Isle of Islay)
Best Holiday Accommodation Award
Eagle Brae (Beauly)
Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House Award
Craigatin House & Courtyard (Perthshire)
Fishers Services Most Hospitable Hotel Award
Friendliest Pub / Bar Award
Best Informal Dining Experience Award
Mimi’s Bakehouse (Edinburgh)
Auchentoshan Distillery and Visitor Centre - Best Restaurant Experience Award
The Kitchin (Edinburgh)
Our Warmest Welcome Award
Cruise Forth Welcome Volunteers (Edinburgh & Fife)
ScotRail - Best Event or Festival Award
The Enchanted Forest (Perthshire)
Auchrannie Resort (Isle of Arran)
Discovering Scotland Award
Helen Fraser - Afternoon Tea Tours (Edinburgh)
Peter Lederer CBE (Perthshire)
The Scottish Thistle Awards are led by several organisations, including VisitScotland, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.
Nominations are now open for the Scottish Thistle Awards 2015/2016. Using a simple and easy online application form, nominations can be submitted by individuals, by others in industry or by the general public.
To enter or for further information on the Scottish Thistle Awards, visit the website.