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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 03/04/2023

The very best of Scotland’s tourism and events industry will be celebrated once again as entries for the Scottish Thistle Awards 2023 open today.

For almost 30 years, the Scottish Thistle Awards has helped to shine a spotlight on individual businesses, people and partnerships working within tourism. This is a vital part of the Scottish economy, which is worth £11.5 billion.

By why enter the awards? Read on for seven reasons why your tourism business should enter for 2023.


Guest laughing at Thistle Award final in EdinburghGuest enjoying the Thistle Awards final in Edinburgh

Top seven reasons to enter the Scottish Thistle Awards 2023

  • Celebrate and motivate your team

    Great staff are key to the success of your businesses. By entering the awards, you're giving a big shout out to their hard work and dedication.  

    The awards are a great way to celebrate your successes and reward the hard work of individuals and teams.


  • Valuable marketing opportunities

    The winners of all our awards will receive national media coverage through our partnership with News Scotland, publisher of The Times and Sunday Times Scotland and The Scottish Sun.

    A nomination, short-list, or win is an endorsement for your business, which will be promoted through our media activity.


  • Attract talented staff

    By being recognised as a leader in the industry – the best will want to work with you.

    Through the networking and partnership opportunities the Scottish Thistles provides, including online and print promotion, it’s a great way to attract talent to your business. 


  • Benchmarking

    By entering the Scottish Thistle Awards you're allowing your business to be compared to other exceptional tourism businesses.

    You're setting yourself apart to showcase exceptional quality, provide inspiration to your peers and helping to raise industry standards. 

    See your businesses from a different perspective. Where do you benchmark?


  • New categories encompassing the industry

    We've created new categories for 2023. There's a total of 14 regional categories in this year’s programme, which celebrating the very best of Scotland’s accommodation sector, food and drink, outdoor experiences and visitor attractions.

    The three national-only categories celebrate Scotland’s outstanding sporting events, business events, and luxury experiences.

    Which will you apply to?


  • Encourage visitor loyalty

    Being part of the Thistle Award process shows visitors that you're a first-class business.

    We know that visitors look for good value, quality and memorable experiences and these awards recognise these attributes. Being a Thistle award nominee or winner highlights your businesses, and encourages visitors to return again and again.


  • We've revised our regions

    We listened to your feedback and have re-drawn the lines for the award regions.

    For the first time this year, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance will deliver the South of Scotland Thistle Awards. This will invite nominations and entries from across the tourism and events industry in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. We'll continue to deliver two regional finals for Central and East and the West.

    The Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards (ACSTA) are responsible for their own regional awards. Winners from all five regions progress to the National Final, held in Edinburgh.

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