Countdown is on to the Scottish tourism ‘Oscars’

People are being asked to nominate their favourite place, person, local haunt or hidden gem for the Scottish Thistle Awards.

People are being asked to nominate their favourite place, person, local haunt or hidden gem for the Scottish Thistle Awards.

Nominations and entries are being sought across the country for Scottish tourism’s equivalent of the Oscars.

From Most Hospitable B&B to Friendliest Pub, Best Outdoors Experience to Tourism Hero – people are being asked to nominate their favourite place, person, local haunt or hidden gem by next Friday (June 17).

The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in their 24th year, celebrate innovation, excellence and best practice in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Last year saw a record-breaking number of entries, including hundreds of nominations from members of the public, and this year organisers are hoping for even more with a total of 15 regional categories to choose from.

Categories, which are aligned with the Scottish Tourism Strategy 2020, include ‘Friendliest pub/bar’ and ‘Innovation in Tourism’, as well as new awards such as ‘Regional Rising Star’ – awarding young people aged 30 and under who have shown real passion for tourism – and ‘Tourism & Hospitality Hero’ – celebrating those front line staff, from tour guides to front of house, who provide exceptional service and a personal touch.

Entrants will be shortlisted by a panel of industry experts and the finalists will go head-to-head at special regional ceremonies in November.

Winners will then go on to represent their respective region in the glittering national Scottish Thistle Awards final held next year.

Rebecca Brooks, chairman of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “The Scottish Thistle Awards are all about celebrating innovation, highlighting excellence and sharing best practice in the Scottish tourism industry.

“Tourism is at the heart of our country’s economy, creating jobs and sustaining communities. These awards are a chance to shine a light on those businesses and individuals in Dunbartonshire who work tirelessly to ensure that visitors from both Scotland and overseas have a truly memorable experience.

“We would urge everyone who has been captivated by somewhere they have visited, inspired by the people they have met or simply want to highlight the amazing work that is happening in their area, to get online and make a nomination for the Scottish Thistle Awards.

“Even without a nomination, our fantastic Scottish tourism businesses can put themselves forward, so we would urge them to go online, find out what category or categories they think best represents them and enter.”

The Scottish Thistle Awards are led by a panel of industry experts from several organisations including VisitScotland, Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

The full 15 regional categories are: Most Hospitable Hotel; Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House; Best Accommodation Provider; Innovation in Tourism; Best Informal Eating Experience; Best Restaurant Experience; Friendliest pub/bar; Regional Ambassador; Best Cultural Event or Festival; Best Sporting Event; Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience; Regional Rising Star; Working Together for Tourism; Best Visitor Attraction and Tourism & Hospitality Hero.

Nominations by the public can be made until June 17, while entries (by businesses themselves) close on July 1.

To nominate, enter or for further information on the Scottish Thistle Awards visit: www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk