Tourism industry recognised at Scottish Thistle Awards.

Tourism talent in Stirling has been recognised at the country’s most prestigious tourism awards. 

Three local businesses struck gold at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for the Central East & Tayside, which took place last on Thursday 15 November at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

The Engine Shed in Stirling was named Scotrail Best Visitor Attraction. Historic Environment Scotland’s unique conservation centre was praised by judges for its “winning combination of technology and tradition”, as well as its engagement with younger audiences and the local community.

We are thrilled to have won this Scottish Thistle Award recognising excellence in the tourism industry. Since opening the Engine Shed last July we have been overwhelmed with the enthusiastic and positive response we have had from visitors and this award will help our offer go from strength to strength. - Dorothy Hoskins, Technical Outreach and Education Manager with Historic Environment Scotland. 

Helicopter Glamping – Mains Farm Wigwams in Stirling received the Geotourist – Innovation in Tourism in recognition of the “flare and imagination” that was demonstrated in the successful introduction of a Helicopter to their accommodation offering.

“We’re honoured to have landed this award for Innovation in Tourism. Our business has really taken off since launching Helicopter Glamping last year. So much so that we’ve had to expand our team to keep up with customer demand. By creating a unique experience, we’ve attracted visitors to rural Scotland from all over the world. We’ve even had guests from as far afield as Australia! We’re delighted be recognised for all our hard work restoring the helicopter to her former glory and transforming her interior into something very special. We can’t wait to get cracking on our next glamping project, a Scottish Twin Pioneer plane!”- Louise Cross, Director of Helicopter Glamping, Mains Farm Wigwams.

Finally, Leny Estate in Callander was named Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers – Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience. The estate which offers high quality four and five star self-catering accommodation has expanded in recent years and was commended by judges for its collaboration with Venachar Lochside and the local community.

Barry Martin, Manager of Leny Estate said:  “We work hard as a team to give our guests a stress-free experience from the moment they book with a very personal touch.  A combination of our unique location, first class accommodation and efficient personal service is a winning combination and it is very satisfying to have been formally recognised.”

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.

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.”


I would like to say a special congratulations to the Stirling winners at the Regional Final of the Scottish Thistle Awards. These awards recognise the drive and passion the industry has for creating an unforgettable experience for visitors and I’m delighted some of our local heroes who go above and beyond have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the region. I wish the regional finalists the very best of luck for the next stage of the competition. - Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director

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.

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