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Visit Scotland | Alba

Celebrating the best in the business

Innovation, collaboration, and sustainable practices

Responsible tourism remains at the heart of the Scottish Thistle Awards. This supports Scotland's goal to be a global leader in this field. Each entry must provide evidence of responsible and sustainable practices and ambitions. This is in-keeping with the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Outlook 2030.

How to go from nomination to award

  • Awards launch and nominations

    The awards launch and nominations open in March each year.

    It's now simpler than ever to nominate a business for an award. For 2023, we streamlined the entire process to make it easier for the public to submit a nomination.

    Please note that nominations for 2023 are now closed.

  • Entries open

    Entries open to all categories in April. If you receive a nomination, you'll get an email encouraging you to enter the awards.
    But, it's not essential to receive a public nomination to enter. You can still enter online to your chosen award categories.

  • Shortlisting begins

    Our panel of independent industry experts will shortlist and judge all entries during May and June. We'll then announce the shortlist for each category in July. You will receive an email from the Scottish Thistles team if you're shortlisted.

    The shortlist announcement will be made on the Scottish Thistle Awards website, and on our corporate Twitter channel. Keep an eye on these platforms to see if your business has received a nomination.

    Browse the Scottish Thistle Awards website.

    View our corporate Twitter channel.

  • The regional awards take place

    Scotland's full of excellent businesses, so we work with regional partners to deliver each award night.

    Every autumn, we host five regional events:

    • The Highland and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) 
    • Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) 
    • Central and East Regional Final
    • West Regional Final
    • South of Scotland Thistle Awards
  • Celebrating the national final

    Winners from each regional award ceremony will progress to our national final. At the national final, we'll announce the overall winner for each individual category.

    We host the national finals during December. Location to be announced for 2023. Tickets will be available for purchase nearer the time.

What are the benefits of winning a Thistle Award?

A new advert featuring some of the winners from Scotland’s premier tourism and events awards aired on STV from 3 July.

Hear from recent winners from the national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards how it benefited them.

Who can apply for an award?


This includes B&Bs, hotels, guesthouses, inns, restaurants with rooms, farmhouses and more.

Food and drink

Pubs, restaurants, eateries and food providers.


Those delivering engaging experiences with our landscapes and local communities.

Visitor attractions

This includes all of Scotland's attractions that warmly welcome visitors.


Those working in partnership and collaborations within Scotland's communities.


These include cultural events and festivals, business events and more.

What are the categories?

There are 14 regional and three national categories in this year’s programme. Each celebrates the best in tourism and those providing outstanding visitor experiences.

Our media partnership

We've once again secured a media partnership with News Scotland for the 2023 awards. News Scotland are publishers of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Scottish Sun.

This partnership will raise the profile of the Scottish Thistle Awards through print and online content. This boosts the profile of the awards, the winners and nominees and encourages businesses to enter.

Press activity from this partnership will appear in a range of publications. This will include Alba, Times Scotland, the Sunday Times and the Scottish Sun. This creates many opportunities to celebrate award participants up to, and including, the awards nights.

Thistles print advertisement

Our regional event partners

We deliver these awards in partnership with regional award programmes who bring this event to life in each corner of Scotland.

Find out more about each regional partner event.

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