Tourism businesses across the west of Scotland have earned recognition from the leaders in their field at the Scottish Thistle Awards.
A total of 15 tourism businesses and individuals from Glasgow, Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway and Argyll & Bute struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for the West, which took place last night (Thursday 28 November) at Òran Mór in Glasgow.
The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in their 27th year, help shine the spotlight on individuals and businesses going above and beyond to create a destination and visitor experience worth talking about amongst our valuable tourism industry. They champion the very best of the Scottish tourism industry, celebrating innovation, success and excellence in the sector.

2019 saw almost 600 entries submitted, including more than 1,000 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 from their own industry peers.

This year’s regional winners include: Heads of Ayr Farm Park for Best Visitor Attraction, sponsored by Scotrail; Paisley Halloween Festival for Best Cultural Event or Festival; Robert Burns Birthplace Museum won the award for Best Heritage Tourism Experience, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland and The Pot Still in Glasgow received the accolade for Best Bar/ Pub, sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers. The Scottish Submarine Centre received the Innovation in Tourism award, sponsored by Geotourist while the award for Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience, sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, went to Ross Bay Retreat in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway. Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran received the Best Hotel Experience award, sponsored by Fishers and Ashfield House Boutique was named Most Hospitable B&B/ Guest House, sponsored by Abbey UK. Tantrum Doughnuts in Glasgow received the Best Informal Eating Experience award, while Visit South West Scotland received the Working Together for Tourism award.

Ralph Porciani, General Manager of Trump Turnberry, received the Tourism & Hospitality Hero award, while Joseph Sellors from Dumbarton Castle was named the Regional Rising Star, sponsored by HIT Scotland.

Linda Johnston, founder and director of the Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran was named Regional Ambassador, sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin.

The regional winners have earned their place at the prestigious National Final in March, where they will join the country’s tourism elite to be honoured with the highest accolade in the Scottish hospitality and tourism sector.

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said: “On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. The Scottish Thistle Awards give businesses and individuals working within tourism in Scotland the opportunity to earn the recognition and appreciation they deserve from their own industry peers. They celebrate those people and businesses throughout the country responsible for offering the warmest of welcomes that Scotland is famous for.
 “Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.
 “I would like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition.”
The Scottish Thistle Awards are led by Scotland’s national tourism organisation, VisitScotland, and supported by a panel of industry representatives including the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

Regional finals will take place in different locations around Scotland covering areas such as Central Fife and Tayside, Lothian & Borders, West, the Highlands and Islands, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, and Aberdeen City and Shire, which is organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

·         The Highlands and Islands Regional Final, organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, took place at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 1 November.
·         The Central, Fife & Tayside Regional Final took place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 November.
·         The Lothian & Borders Regional Final took place at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 14 November.
·         The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, took place at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen, on Friday 22 November.

For more information, visit www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk