A ‘green’ destination, a ferry service which sails to over 20 destinations on the west coast and the biggest Hogmanay party in Scotland were among those crowned the best in Scotland at Scottish tourism’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Comrie Croft near Crieff won the Scotland CAN DO Award for Innovation In Tourism, Caledonian MacBrayne, known as CalMac Ferries, picked up Edinburgh Airport – Working Together For Tourism, while Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, produced by Unique Events, took home Caledonian MacBrayne – Best Cultural Event or Festival, at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final last night (16 March).
Thistle judges noted the “impressive impact” that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has had on the local economy with 99% occupancy for 31 December, praised social enterprise Comrie Croft for its “collaboration across the region” and described CalMac, headquartered in Gourock, as a “lifeline service focussed on the customer”.
Inverness business owner, Freda Newton MBE, who owns and manages Loch Ness by Jacobite, was rewarded for her role in tourism with the Caledonian MacBrayne Silver Thistle Award which was presented by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.
She received the prize for her “pivotal role in the region’s tourism industry” including her work as an ambassador for Scotland on international business trips and was described as “an inspirational role model to women” and “mentor to young entrepreneurs”.
The 2016/2017 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers, recognise innovation, excellence and success in the hospitality and tourism industry – rewarding hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions, events and individuals who go that extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.
There were winners from across Scotland: from Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre (Best Outdoor/Adventure) in Dumfries and Galloway to Mill of Nethermill Holidays (Best Accommodation Provider) in Aberdeenshire, the National Museum of Scotland (ScotRail – Best Visitor Attraction) in Edinburgh to Kinloch Lodge Hotel & Restaurant (Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel) on the Isle of Skye.
This year the Scottish Thistle Awards received a record-breaking number of entries, totalling 715, amounting to a 16% increase on last year.
The flagship tourism awards are organised by VisitScotland and led by an industry panel, including 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.
The regional finals were: Central, Fife & Tayside; Lothians & Borders; West; Highlands and Islands, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards; and Aberdeen City and Shire, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.
The Scottish Thistle Awards National Final winners
|Category||Winner||Local Authority area|
|Caledonian MacBrayne Silver Thistle Award||Freda Newton MBE||Highland|
|Event Connect – Best Sporting Event||Glasgow 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships||Glasgow|
|Caledonian MacBrayne – Best Cultural Event or Festival||Oban Winter Festival (special commendation)Unique Events – Edinburgh’s Hogmanay||Oban, Argyll and ButeEdinburgh|
|Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel||Kinloch Lodge Hotel & Restaurant||Isle of Skye, Highland|
|Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House||Brookford B&B||St John’s Town of Dalry, Dumfries and Galloway|
|Best Accommodation Provider||Mill of Nethermill Holidays||Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire|
|J Thomson Colour Printers – Best Restaurant Experience||GAMBA – Seafood Restaurant & Bar||Glasgow|
|Best Informal Eating Experience||No. 10 Bar & Restaurant||Aberdeen|
|Friendliest Pub/Bar||MacGochans||Isle of Mull, Argyll and Bute|
|Best Outdoor/Adventure||Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre||Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway|
|ScotRail – Best Visitor Attraction||National Museums Scotland||Edinburgh|
|Braehead Foods – Tourism & Hospitality Hero||Jean Ryrie, Jurys Inn, Aberdeen AirportHamish Reid, The Abbotsford Trust (special commendation)||AberdeenMelrose, Scottish Borders|
|Edinburgh Airport – Working Together For Tourism||Calmac Ferries Ltd||Gourock, Inverclyde|
|Scotland CAN DO Award for Innovation In Tourism||Comrie Croft||Crieff, Perth and Kinross|