Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

Help shape the future of business support on Giving feedback through our short survey only takes a few minutes.

Article published 15/03/2019

The 2018/19 Scottish Thistle Awards, in association with Fishers.

Scottish tourism’s premier awards ceremony took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last night (14 March), where 15 individuals, businesses and events were honoured for their innovation, excellence and success in the hospitality and tourism sector.

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, ‘Paws for a Break’ from the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers and Cruise Loch Ness were all crowned national winners.

Other awards went to Celtic Connections, Kieran Rose of Borthwick Castle and Sweeney’s Cruise Co.

Willie Cameron, founding director of marketing for Visit Loch Ness and founding director of the Cobbs Group, took the prestigious Johnstons of Elgin Silver Thistle Award this year, which was presented by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, and George McNeil, Managing Director of Retail for Johnstons of Elgin.

Full list of Scottish Thistle Awards National Final 2018/19 winners

Category Winner Location
Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience - sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers Leny Estate Callander, Perthshire
Best Eating Experience - sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne Eat on the Green Ellon, Aberdeenshire
Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience Sweeney's Cruise Co Loch Lomond
Best Sporting Event Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open Gullane, East Lothian
Best Cultural Event or Festival - sponsored by Kinara Distillery Celtic Connections Glasgow
Most Hospitable Hotel - sponsored by Fishers Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire
Innovation in Tourism - sponsored by Geotourist Wigtown Festival Company  Dumfries & Galloway
Best Heritage Tourism Experience - sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland The Real Mary King's Close Edinburgh
Best Bar / Pub - sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers MacGregor's Bar Inverness
Best Business Event - sponsored by CAT Media European Orthodontic Society Congress 2018 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre Edinburgh
Working Together for Tourism - sponsored by Edinburgh Airport Association of Scotland's Self Caterers, Paws for a Break Central, Fife & Tayside
Best Visitor Attraction - sponsored by Scotrail  Cruise Loch Ness Inverness
Tourism and Hospitality Hero  Kieran Rose, Borthwick Castle Midlothian
Most Hospitable B&B / Guest House - sponsored by Criton Newton Farm Holidays & Tours Forfar, Angus
Silver Thistle - sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin Willie Cameron Inverness, Highlands

American author of the bestselling Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, was also in attendance to receive a special honorary Thistle award in recognition of her International Contribution to Scottish tourism. The award was granted in recognition of the phenomenal success of the Outlander TV series, based on Ms Gabaldon’s novels, and the resulting impact on Scottish tourism in recent years.

Scottish actor, writer and comedian, Greg McHugh, co-hosted the evening with STV presenter and former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch. Entertainment was provided by Highlands-based Indie rock band Elephant Sessions.

The Scottish Thistle Awards are Scotland’s premier awards for the tourism industry and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and recognise their achievements in what is a special year for tourism in Scotland as VisitScotland marks its 50th anniversary.

Congratulations to all of our national winners of the 2018/19 Scottish Thistle Awards. We were honoured to have Diana Gabaldon amongst our guests who represent the best of Scottish tourism and epitomise the strength and depth of the sector which continues to innovate and excel in giving visitors a high quality experience.

Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs and sustains communities. The Scottish Thistle Awards lets us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member

Congratulations to all the national winners on a fantastic night for Scottish tourism.

Related links