Tourism businesses in Central, Fife & Tayside and the Lothians and the Scottish Borders have earned recognition from the leaders in their field at the Scottish Thistle Awards.
More than 20 businesses and individuals struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for Central, Fife & Tayside, which took place last night (Thursday 14 November) at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
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.
This year’s regional winners for Central, Fife & Tayside include: WILDHOOD festival for winner of the Best Cultural Event or Festival, The McManus in Dundee for Best Visitor Attraction, sponsored by Scotrail.
The winner of the Best Restaurant Experience was Monachyle Mhor Hotel, Lochearnhead, Perthshire and the winner of Best Informal Eating Experience was The Real Food Café, Tyndrum.
The Library of Innerpeffray was awarded the Best Heritage Tourism Experience, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland.
The winner of the Regional Rising Star award for Central, Fife & Tayside was Craig MacDonald from Wee Heroes in Falkirk. He was announced alongside the Tourism & Hospitality Hero Jerry Beaulier from the Hamish Foundation.
The regional winners have earned 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.
This year’s regional winners for Lothian and Borders include: Edinburgh Dungeon for Best Visitor Attraction, sponsored by Scotrail; The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society for Best Cultural Event or Festival; Rosslyn Chapel Trust won the award for Best Heritage Tourism Experience, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland and Rutherfords Micropub in Kelso in the Scottish Borders received the accolade for Best Bar/ Pub, sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers.
Invisible Cities received the Innovation in Tourism award, sponsored by Geotourist while the award for Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience, sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, went to Crosswoodhill Farm Holiday Cottages in West Lothian.
The Dunstane Houses in Edinburgh received the Best Hotel Experience award, sponsored by Fishers and Kingsmuir House in Peebles was named Most Hospitable B&B/ Guest House, sponsored by Abbey UK.
Anne Daly from Mary’s Meanders in Linlithgow received the Tourism & Hospitality Hero award, while Natalie McLachlan from The Four Sisters Boatel in Edinburgh received the Regional Rising Star award, sponsored by HIT.
Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said: “On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. The Scottish Thistle Awards give businesses and individuals working within tourism in Scotland the opportunity to earn the recognition and appreciation they deserve from their own industry peers.
They celebrate those people and businesses throughout the country responsible for offering the warmest of welcomes that Scotland is famous for.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.
“I would like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition.”
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, took 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.
For more information, visit www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk