The Thistle Awards 2008

On the 24th of October 2008, the winners of the 2008 Scottish Thistle Awards will be announced at a spectacular function being held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Scottish Thistle Awards is an initiative that was created by VisitScotland to honor business excellence. Over and above recognizing businesses and the quality services they provide, the media brings attention to VisitScotland and the sponsors of the awards, and in so doing, puts the spotlight on the tourism industry in Scotland.

The awards were established in 1991 and businesses are able to enter themselves for eligibility of receiving an award under various categories. Judging is done in each category by a panel of judges and the panel is made up of one category sponsor, a representative of the industry and a VisitScotland staff member who specializes in the respective category. There are different panels for each category and each panel works independently. The judges therefore do not know who the judges of the other categories are, which businesses have been entered into the various categories or if they appear in various categories, outcomes or decisions made by other panels or the movements of the other panels. They also follow a strict scoring system, taking every aspect of the business in account that needs to be evaluated accordingly.

The Business Tourism category is sponsored by VisitScotland Business Tourism Unit and the finalists for this division are Easterbrook Hall, Edinburgh Convention Bureau and Unique Venues of Edinburgh. Glasgow:Edinburgh Collaboration are the sponsors for the Collaboration category, which has Connoisseurs Scotland, Tartan Turf Tour and Timber Tours & The Famous Grouse Experience as finalists. In the Customer Care: Accommodation division, sponsored by VisitScotland, Crosswoodhill Farm Cottages are up against fellow finalists, Morag’s Lodge and Pilrig House Apartments. In the second Customer Care Division, Activities and Attractions, Huntly Peregrine Wildwatch, Radical Travel and The Famous Grouse Experience made it to the finals.

Other categories that also consist of three finalists in each, includes Customer Service: Serviced Accommodation, Events and Festivals International, Events and Festivals Regional, Innovation, Marketing Initiative, Operator Programme of the Year, People Development Large Business, People Development Small Business, PR Excellence, Sustainable Tourism and Young Tourism Entrepreneur.

By hosting the awards, VisitScotland hopes to promote the tourism industry of Scotland on various levels, bring attention to service quality and excellence and to encourage the development of creativity and professionalism within the country’s tourism industry.