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Tourism businesses have received recognition as Scotland’s premier tourism and events awards continued last night.
Around 180 people gathered at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow for the West of Scotland Thistle Awards that saw 13 awards given out to celebrate the very best of the tourism and events industry.
The awards were presented by broadcaster Zara Zanjua with entertainment from Scottish trad fusion band, DLÙ. The Scottish Thistle Awards, with headline sponsors Johnstons of Elgin, celebrate the very best of the tourism and events industry, which is worth £11.5billion to the Scottish economy.
2023 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 West of Scotland Thistle Awards’ winners include The Brae in Dreghorn, Ayrshire, which was named Best Bar or Pub, sponsored by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and Lamlash House in Ayrshire which was awarded the Best Eating Experience award, sponsored by Abbey UK.
Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran was named Best Hotel Experience, sponsored by Fishers, while Jack’s Alt-Stays on the Isle of Cumbrae was named Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience.
Other winners include: Dandelion Festival in Glasgow was named Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival; West Dunbartonshire Council was named winner of the Celebrating Thriving Communities award for its Antonine Wall World Heritage Site project; Glasgow Science Centre was named winner of the Inclusive Tourism Award, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland; Glasgow Life received the Climate Action Award, sponsored by The Times Scotland.
The Best Visitor Attraction award, sponsored by The Scottish Sun, went to The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, while the Mharsanta in Glasgow won the Innovation in Tourism award.
Pinkston Watersports received the Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience award. Sea Life Loch Lomond was named Tourism & Hospitality Employer of the Year, while Alan McDougall, Head Concierge at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow was named Tourism Individual of the Year.
The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered by VisitScotland in partnership with regional awards programmes. The five different regional awards ceremonies are taking 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.
This year, the awards also include a media partnership with News Scotland.
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 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, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland, and Climate Action Award, sponsored by Times Scotland, introduced this year.
Steven Walker, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel said: “Congratulations to all of the winners at the West of Scotland Thistle Awards. The Scottish Thistle Awards shine a spotlight on the very best of Scotland’s tourism and events industry, celebrating the businesses and individuals who work hard to create the fantastic destination and visitor experiences that Scotland is famous for.
“The Scottish Thistle Awards mark an important celebration of the very best of our tourism and events industry and support the ambition for Scotland to be recognised globally as a leader in this field.
“I wish the regional winners the best of luck as they continue through to the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final later this year.”