Tourism talent in Central East and Tayside has been recognised in the country’s most prestigious tourism awards.
A total of 14 tourism businesses struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for the Central East and Tayside, which took place week at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
The Scottish Thistle Awards is Scotland’s premier awards for the tourism industry, celebrating success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.
It also offers the opportunity to recognise those people who have made valuable contributions to the sector across the country.
2018 saw more than 640 entries submitted, including well over a thousand nominations from members of the public keen to recognise hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, visitor attractions and individuals who go the extra mile to provide customers with exceptional service.
Winners included: The Engine Shed in Stirling won the Scotrail Best Visitor Attraction, Kirklands Hotel in Kinross was named The Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel. The Enchanted Forest won the Best Cultural Event or Festival, with Newton Farm Holidays & Tours being named the Best Outdoor/ Adventure Experience and Criton – Most Hospitable B&B/ Guest House.
Thyme at Errichel restaurant received the CalMac Best Eating Experience award and Leny Estate in Callander was named Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience. The Carnegie Library in Dunfermline received the Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience award, and Helicopter Glamping – Mains Farm Wigwams in Stirling received the Geotourist – Innovation in Tourism award.
Perth-based Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers was presented with the Edinburgh Airport Working Together for Tourism Award for their first consumer marketing campaign ‘Paws for a Break.’ The Boudingait in Cupar was named as the region’s Best Bar/Pub, sponsored by J Thomson Colour Printers, for their continued commitment to demonstrating excellence in a variety of aspects, from serving fresh local food and drink to providing personal customer service.
Craig MacDonald, owner of Transcend Escape Rooms and Wee Heroes in Falkirk was named the HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star in recognition of his collaboration and involvement in the wider tourism industry, with judges commending his commitment to working with young people to develop the next generation of the tourism workforce.
And June Goodfellow of Taste Perthshire was named the region’s Tourism & Hospitality Hero for demonstrating passion and inspiration in her role. The Johnstons of Elgin Regional Ambassador award went to Wendy Barrie of the Scottish Food Guide. Wendy was commended for the passion that she shows in her job and for using her business to sell Scotland.
The winners of the regional finals will now go on to fly the flag for the Central East & Tayside region, at the glittering national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards at the EICC in Edinburgh next March.
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. They are a credit to themselves, their local area and the entire Scottish tourism sector.
‘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 full list of Central East & Tayside Regional winners is:
Scotrail – Best Visitor Attraction, Historic Environment Scotland, The Engine Shed Stirling.
Fishers – Most Hospitable Hotel, Kirklands Hotel Kinross, Perth & Kinross.
Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience, Leny Estate Callander, Stirling.
Criton – Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House, Newton Farm Holiday & Tours Forfar, Angus.
Best Eating Experience – Caledonian MacBrayne, Thyme at Errichel Restaurant (Budge-Reid Partnership), Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross.
J Thomson Colour Printers – Best Bar / Pub, The Boudingait Cupar, Fife.
Johnstons of Elgin – Regional Ambassador, Wendy Barrie, Scottish Food Guide Aberdour, Fife.
Best Outdoor Adventure Experience, Newton Farm Holiday & Tours, Forfar, Angus.
Edinburgh Airport – Working Together for Tourism, Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, Perth, Perth & Kinross.
Tourism & Hospitality Hero, June Goodfellow, Taste Perthshire Perth, Perth & Kinross.
Geotourist – Innovation in Tourism, Helicopter Glamping – Mains Farm Wigwams, Stirling.
HIT Scotland – Regional Rising Star, Craig MacDonald, Wee Heroes/ Transcend Escape Rooms, Falkirk.
Best Cultural Event or Festival – Kinrara Distillery, Enchanted Forest Pitlochry, Perth & Kinross.
Historic Environment Scotland – Best Heritage Tourism Experience, Carnegie Library, Fife Cultural Trust, Dunfermline, Fife.
A total of five regional ceremonies will unveil which regional winners will compete in the national finals. Regional ceremonies have already taken place for the Highlands & Islands, which was organised by the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. The Aberdeen City and Shire Regional Final, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, will take place at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen, on Friday 23 November. The West Regional Final will take place at Oran Mor, Glasgow, on Thursday 29 November.
For more information, visit www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk.