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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 10/05/2023

Scotland’s premier tourism and events awards

Update: Entries to this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards, sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin, close Monday 15 May at 23:59.

Tourism businesses and events are being encouraged to enter Scotland’s premier tourism and events awards, as the deadline for entries approaches.

For almost 30 years, the Scottish Thistle Awards has helped shine a spotlight on the very best of the Scottish tourism, hospitality and events industry, celebrating innovation, excellence and success.

Responsible tourism is at the heart of the 2023 Scottish Thistle Awards, supporting the aim for Scotland to be recognised globally as a leader in this field.

Entrants to all 17 categories must evidence how they have embraced best practice covering the four key areas of responsible tourism:

  • A low carbon economy
  • Inclusivity
  • Thriving communities
  • Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage


Climate Action Award

This award celebrates businesses, events and destinations, who have made demonstrable progress on their climate action journey to net zero.

Enter now, if your business sets the standard for responsible tourism practices and can serve as an example to the tourism industry in the following ways:

  • measurement and monitoring of emissions
  • taking action to decarbonise
  • communicating and collaborating with staff, customers, and wider stakeholders

Comrie Croft

Comrie Croft in Perthshire, winners of the inaugural Responsible Tourism Award in 2022/23

Inclusive Tourism Award

This award celebrates businesses or events that have developed an outstanding welcome for all customers and provide accessible facilities that can be enjoyed by all.

Enter now if you and your business can demonstrate:

  • an ongoing commitment to training frontline staff in equality and disability awareness
  • providing facilities and services designed for different customer groups, for example autism or dementia friendly tours
  • offering opportunities for low-income families or young disadvantaged adults to participate in Scottish tourism

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Performers at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winners of the Inclusive Tourism award in 2018

Innovation in Tourism Award

This award celebrates businesses driving forward positive change within tourism in innovative ways.

Enter now if you or your business can demonstrate that it has adapted to provide exceptional experiences to visitors, in line with the changing landscape and consumer behaviour.

This can be through the use of technology and digital, physical expansion, or investment in change.

Invisible cities

Invisible Cities, Edinburgh, winners of the Innovation in Tourism award in 2019/20

Celebrating Thriving Communities

It is now more important than ever to ensure that the benefits of tourism are experienced directly by our communities and that our visitors enjoy enriched experiences delivered by proud and passionate people who live and work in Scotland’s destinations.

This category celebrates partnerships, collaborations and team working where people and business come together to protect and enhance the environment, whilst growing social, cultural, and economic wealth.

This category is for local businesses, communities or a group of individuals who are operating a collective approach to deliver activity and who believe that ‘tourism is everyone’s business.’

The South of Scotland Thistle Awards

This year sees the introduction of a dedicated South of Scotland Thistle Awards

Delivered in partnership with the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and supported by South of Scotland Enterprise, the awards invites nominations and entries from 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 West.

Winners from all five regional awards, which also includes the Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards (ACSTA) progress to the National Final, taking place in December 2023.

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