Scottish tourism businesses shortlisted for Scottish Thistle Awards

Thistle Group winners from 2018/2019

A pioneering light and sound show that has captivated audiences for 18 years, one of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries, alpaca trekking and a seafood takeaway on the East Coast are among those businesses and individuals the length and breadth of the country in the running for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards.

The shortlist for the regional finals of the 2019/20 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, has been revealed, and sees some of the country’s biggest events, world-famous attractions, high quality food and drink establishments and first-class accommodation providers compete for the coveted regional accolades.

This year’s nominees include The Enchanted Forest, Glengoyne Distillery, Beirhope Alpacas and The Lobster Shack.

Shortlisted finalists will now come head-to-head with competition from other tourism businesses in their area at five different regional award ceremonies to be held in November.

The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in their 27th year, help shine the spotlight on individuals and businesses going above and beyond to create a destination and visitor experience worth talking about amongst our valuable tourism industry. They champion the very best of the Scottish tourism industry, celebrating innovation, success and excellence in the sector.

2019 saw almost 600 entries submitted, including more than 1,000 nominations from members of the public keen to give hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals the opportunity to earn the recognition they deserve from their own industry peers.

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel, said“Once again, the Scottish Thistle Awards, have attracted entries from right across the country, with the regional winners earning their place at the prestigious National Final in March, where they will join the country’s tourism elite to be honoured with the highest accolade in the Scottish hospitality and tourism sector.

“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. The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance to celebrate those people and businesses responsible for offering the warmest of welcomes that our country is famous for.

“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.”

The Scottish Thistle Awards are led by Scotland’s national tourism organisation, VisitScotland, and supported by a panel of industry representatives including the 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 the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 1 November.
  • The Central, Fife & Tayside Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 November.
  • The Lothian & Borders Regional Final will take place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 November.
  • The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen, on Friday 22 November.
  • The West Regional Final will take place at Òran Mór, Glasgow, on Thursday 28 November.

The full 15 regional categories are:

  • ScotRail – Best Visitor Attraction
  • Fishers – Best Hotel Experience
  • Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience
  • Abbey UK- Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  • Best Informal Eating Experience
  • Best Restaurant Experience
  • Best Bar / Pub
  • Johnstons of Elgin – Regional Ambassador
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  • Working Together For Tourism
  • Tourism & Hospitality Hero
  • HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star
  • Best Cultural Event or Festival
  • Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience
  • Geotourist – Innovation in Tourism Award

For a full list of shortlisted finalists, please visit:

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