Scottish Thistle Award Winner Helps Final Nomination Push

The hunt is on to find Dumfries & Galloway’s next tourism stars, as the country’s leading tourism awards prepares to mark a milestone birthday.

This year marks the Scottish Thistle Awards ‘silver’ anniversary for the competition, which celebrates success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.

For the past 25 years, the Scottish Thistle Awards have crowned over 350 national winners, including 8 from Dumfries & Galloway. Previous local champions include Thistle B Scrumptious (2012), Cream O’ Galloway (2004), Creetown Gem Rock Museum (2003) and Kirroughtree House (2003).

Earlier this year, two businesses from Dumfries & Galloway were crowned national winners with Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre at Gatehouse of Fleet named the Best Outdoor/ Adventure Experience and Brookford B&B, in St John’s Town of Dalry, taking home the Most Hospitable B&B/ Guest House crown.

Thistle judges commended Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre’s focus on “quality and service” and noted its 40% growth last year. They were particularly impressed by the human slingshot and the associated publicity for it.

Duncan McConchie, Managing Director of Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre, said: “Starting a business from scratch and growing it in scale and standards to compete with the nation’s best is a hard job. There’s plenty of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the knock backs along the way. We aspired to one day be the best and to be crowned The Best Outdoor/Adventure and in Scotland, the home of adventure and the great outdoors is just amazing.

“Receiving this award is a massive pat on the back from others in the industry and we feel incredibly proud in what we have created at Laggan Outdoors. We continue to work hard to ensure our visitors experience the best the country has to offer.”

From Fishers- Most Hospitable Hotel to Best Pub/Bar, or Best Visitor Attraction to Tourism Hospitality Hero, nominations can be made across 16 different categories. Anyone can nominate businesses, events or people who they feel deserve recognition for what they do.

This year sees the introduction of the Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience award, in celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017. This new category will honour those who excel in bringing to life Scotland’s rich history, heritage and traditions.

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 Award final held next year.

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:
“The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance to celebrate those who work tirelessly to ensure that all visitors, whether from Scotland or further afield, enjoy a truly memorable experience. Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. I’m delighted that these awards continue to recognise the shining lights within our industry.

“This year marks a very special anniversary for the Scottish Thistles Awards; it is our 25th anniversary. In that time we have recognised the dedication, talent and success of over 350 winners and this year is no exception. I’m urging everyone to help us celebrate in style by nominating the businesses, attractions and individuals that have inspired them.

“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 16 regional categories are:
· Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel
· Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
· Best Accommodation Provider
· Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience
· Innovation in Tourism
· Best Informal Eating Experience
· Best Restaurant Experience
· Best Pub/Bar
· Regional Ambassador
· Best Cultural Event or Festival
· Best Sporting Event
· Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
· HIT Scotland Regional Rising Star
· Working Together for Tourism
· Best Visitor Attraction
· Tourism & Hospitality Hero

Nominations can be made until Friday 23 June, business will then have until Friday 30 June to enter.

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

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