Awards on offer to Borderers giving warmest welcome to tourists

From left, actor Sanjeev Kohli, Kingsmuir House owners Malcolm and Karen Mullarkey, Derek Nicol of award sponsor Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers and TV presenter Jennifer Reoch.
From left, actor Sanjeev Kohli, Kingsmuir House owners Malcolm and Karen Mullarkey, Derek Nicol of award sponsor Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers and TV presenter Jennifer Reoch.

Borderers going that extra mile to boost the region’s tourism industry could be in line to get the credit they deserve.

Scottish Thistle Awards, Scotland’s premier tourism industry prizes, have been handed out to more than 360 winners across the country over the past 25 years, and Borders businesses and individuals are being offered another opportunity to have their names added to that list.

Among the award categories are regional ambassador, for those aged 31-plus, and Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland regional rising star for those aged up to 30.

There is also the tourism and hospitality hero award for front-line customer service workers.

Rebecca Brooks, chairperson of the awards’ industry panel, said: “The Scottish Thistle Awards are 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.

“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.”

Nominations close on Friday, June 22, with the deadline for entries following a week later on June 29.

The awards are led by experts from organisations including VisitScotland, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

For more information, visit www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk

Borders contenders took home seven of the 15 prizes up for grabs at the Scottish Thistle Awards’ regional final for the Lothians and Borders in November last year, and one went on to claim a national trophy in March this year.

Our winners at the regional awards included the Airhouses self-catering lodges near Oxton, Windlestraw at Walkerburn and Kingsmuir House in Peebles, named as best accommodation provider, most hospitable hotel and most hospitable bed-and-breakfast or guesthouse respectively.

Among the Borders’ other success stories were Gattonside restaurant Seasons and Lauder’s Firebrick Brasserie, winners of the prizes for best informal eating experience and best restaurant experience respectively.

Our other winners were Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen, given the trophy for best heritage tourism experience category, and Peter Gilchrist, of Galashiels tourism consultancy Peter Co and Associates, named as a rising star of the region’s tourist industry.

Kingsmuir House, in Springhill Road, followed that feat up by being named as the best bed-and-breakfast or guesthouse in the country at the 25th Scottish Thistle Awards’ national final, held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.