Scotland’s premier tourism awards return

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The very best of Scotland’s tourism and events industry will be celebrated as nominations open for the 2022/23 Scottish Thistle Awards which were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

The awards, which for the first time this year include a media partnership with News Scotland, shine a spotlight on individual businesses and people working in this vital part of the Scottish economy, which is worth £11.5 billion.

Delivered by national tourism organisation VisitScotland, the Scottish Thistle Awards combine regional awards, including the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA), with a national final.


The awards champion innovation, collaboration and sustainable practices, in line with the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Outlook 2030.

Responsible tourism is at the heart of the refreshed Scottish Thistle Awards, supporting the aim for Scotland to be recognised globally as a leader in this field.

Lord Thurso, chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘Now more than ever, the Scottish Thistle Awards present an opportunity to showcase tourism as a force for good, helping to ensure that tourism is recognised for the positive impact it brings to the country.

‘It has been a challenging two years for tourism and events, but our industry has continued to adapt and innovate.


‘Scotland’s tourism offering is making huge efforts to develop in a responsible way – visitors to Scotland can benefit from a wide range of eco-friendly, sustainable and responsible tourism choices right across the country.

‘The benefits of tourism spread far beyond the industry itself – to the wider economy, to communities, and to the wellbeing of so many individuals.

‘The Scottish Thistle Awards recognise the businesses and individuals who are striving to make Scotland a fantastic place to visit now and in the future.’

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered by VisitScotland, in partnership with Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) and supported by a panel of industry representatives.

This year’s sponsors of the Scottish Thistle Awards include Johnstons of Elgin and Fishers.

Nominations can be made to five regional award ceremonies. The regional winners then go forward to compete in the national final taking place in February 2023.

Categories range from Best B&B or Guest House Experience, Best Eatery Experience and Best Hotel Experience. A new category celebrating those businesses and events which have embraced responsible tourism has also been introduced this year.

In addition, every entry will be asked to provide clear evidence – covering the last two years – on how their business addresses four key areas in line with the Outlook 2030 strategy’s ambition for sustainable and responsible growth.

Individuals, businesses and events entering any of the 17 categories must evidence how they have embraced best practice covering the four key areas of a low carbon economy, inclusivity, thriving communities and Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.

Steven Walker, chairman of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel, said: ‘The Scottish Thistle Awards shine the spotlight on the very best of Scotland’s tourism industry.

‘It is also fitting that we launch the programme for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards during Scottish Tourism Month, which is held every year to inspire and celebrate our industry.

‘We want to recognise the resilience of the industry, support its recovery from the pandemic, and celebrate the enormous contribution it makes to Scotland’s economy and beyond.’

The revised awards programme for 2022-2023 will see a total of 13 regional entries and four national entries crowned as the very best in the industry.

For a full list of the award categories and to nominate and enter, please visit: www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk