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Article published 21/07/2023

Who's on the list?

The regional shortlist for Scotland’s premier tourism and events industry awards has today (21 July) been announced.

The Scottish Thistle Awards, with headline sponsor Johnstons of Elgin, celebrate the very best of the tourism and events industry, which is worth £11.5 billion to the Scottish economy.

Today, we've announced the shortlist for the Central and East Thistle Awards and the West of Scotland Thistle Awards, with 72 tourism businesses, events and individuals in the running to receive the prestigious award.

 

Scottish Thistle Award trophyScottish Thistle Award Trophy. Image credit: Chris Watt.

Group of people standingTeam the at Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Glasgow who picked up the Award for Best Business Event. Image credit Chris Watt.

Glance at the Central and East, and the West of Scotland shortlist

Among those shortlisted include Camera Obscura & the World of Illusions in Edinburgh which is shortlisted in the Best Visitor Attraction category, sponsored by The Scottish Sun. They have also been shortlisted in the Innovation in Tourism category, which celebrates those driving forward positive chance and creatively adapting to consumer behaviour, at the Central and East Thistle Awards.

The Burrell Collection is among the businesses shortlisted in the West of Scotland Thistle Awards. It's also shortlisted in the Best Visitor Attraction category, sponsored by The Scottish Sun, alongside Mackintosh at the Willow and Heads of Ayr Farm Park.

East Lothian Cottages in Haddington, Glenkinchie Distillery in East Lothian and Edinburgh Science are all in the running for the Climate Action Award category, sponsored by The Times, at the Central and East Thistle Awards.

Glasgow Life and the Technology & Innovation Centre are both in the running for this category at the West of Scotland Thistle Awards. This category celebrates businesses, events and destinations that have demonstrable progress on their journey to net zero.

Fairmont St Andrews is among the businesses shortlisted for the Best Hotel Experience award, sponsored by Fishers, at the Central and East Thistle Awards, alongside The Cromlix in Dunblane and Murrayshall Country Estate in Perth.

Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran is shortlisted in the Best Hotel Experience category, sponsored by Fishers, alongside Trump Turnberry at the West of Scotland Thistle Awards.

Regional awards programmes

We deliver the Scottish Thistle Awards in partnership with regional awards programmes.

The five different regional award ceremonies will take place in September, October and November before the regional winners go through to battle it out for a national accolade at the national final in December.  

The awards champion innovation, collaboration and sustainable practices, in line with the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Outlook 2030.   

Responsible tourism is at the heart of the Scottish Thistle Awards, supporting the aim for Scotland to be recognised globally as a leader in this field.   

Every entry to the 17 categories was required to provide clear evidence on how their business addresses responsible tourism, with new categories such as the:

  • Celebrating Thriving Communities Award
  • Inclusive Tourism Award
  • Climate Action Award (introduced this year)

 

There are 14 regional categories, and three national-only ones.

This year saw more than 600 entries submitted, including almost 1200 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 in the part they play in making Scotland such a fantastic place to visit.

The regional awards programme also includes the Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards (HITA), the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards (ACSTA) and, for the first time this year, the South of Scotland Thistle Awards.

This year’s sponsors of the Scottish Thistle Awards include headline sponsor, Johnstons of Elgin, and Fishers, The Macallan Estate, STV and Abbey UK.

The Scottish Thistle Awards mark an important celebration of the best in our industry.

They showcase the vest best of Scotland’s tourism and events sector, helping to ensure that tourism, and the individuals who work in the industry, are recognised for the positive impact they bring to the country and our communities.

Every one of the shortlisted regional finalists is supporting our ambition to make Scotland a better place for people to live and visit.

On behalf of the panel, I would like to congratulate all regional finalists and wish each and every one of them the very best of luck at the regional finals and beyond.

Steven Walker, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel

The full 14 regional categories are:  

  • Best B&B or Guest House Experience, sponsored by Abbey UK
  • Best Bar or Pub
  • Best Eatery Experience
  • Best Hotel Experience, sponsored by Fishers
  • Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience
  • Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience
  • Best Visitor Attraction, sponsored by The Scottish Sun

 

  • Celebrating Thriving Communities Award
  • Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival
  • Inclusive Tourism Award, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland
  • Climate Action Award, sponsored by The Times Scotland
  • Innovation in Tourism
  • Tourism & Hospitality Employer of the Year
  • Tourism Individual of the Year

Regional Finals - where and when?

  • Central and East Thistle Awards

    The Central and East Thistle Awards will take place at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh on 21 September 2023.

  • Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final

    The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen, on 22 September.

  • West of Scotland Thistle Awards

    The West of Scotland Thistle Awards will take place at the Raddison Blu in Glasgow on 28 September 2023.

  • South of Scotland Thistle Awards

    The South of Scotland Thistle Awards, organised by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and supported by South of Scotland Enterprise, will take place at The Cairndale Hotel in Dumfries on 5 October 2023.

  • Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards

    The Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, will take place at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on 10 November 2023.

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