Two of the most remote inns in the Highlands have won top accolades at a prestigious awards ceremony for Scotland’s tourism sector.
The Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland and the Applecross Inn in Wester Ross in were feted at the Scottish Thistle Awards in Edinburgh last night.
The Kylesku, originally an old coaching inn dating back to 1680, was awarded as Scotland’s Most Hospital Hotel. The Applecross Inn, a renowned seafood restaurant with rooms, was named Scotland’s Friendliest Pub/Bar.
The annual Thistle Awards crowned 14 winners across a range of categories at the ceremony.
Also included was the Ninth Wave Restaurant in the Isle of Mull, which won Best Restaurant Experience.
Robin Worsnop, founder of coach tour firm Rabbie’s, was named the winner of the prestigious Silver Thistle Award, given to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the country’s tourism industry.
Mr Worsnop, whose firm provides small group coach tours across the Highlands and Islands, founded his Edinburgh-based company in 1993 and which has grown into the UK’s most successful independent tour company.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Silver Thistle Award is the top honour in tourism and goes to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry. In building a multi-award winning tour business now rated as one of the top ten things to do in Edinburgh, Robin has inspired his peers and competitors along the way. Robin has been an active leader in helping the tourism industry raise its profile and is a worthy winner of the Silver Thistle.”
This year’s awards, which saw a record-breaking number of entries, including hundreds of nominations from members of the public this year, celebrate tourism businesses or suppliers across the country who have gone the extra mile to offer an outstanding visitor experience.
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Rosslyn Chapel, which won for being Best Vistor Attraction, were also celebrated.
Stephen Carter OBE, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “I would like to congratulate all our tourism champions for their dedication to Scotland’s tourism industry. Tourism is at the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, and all those nominated are industry leading ambassadors, positioning Scotland as the perfect place to visit and do business.
“The Scottish Thistle Awards are all about celebrating innovation, highlighting excellence and sharing best practice.mIt is important we continue to recognise those who go the extra mile to enhance the visitor experience, embodying the very spirit of Scotland.
“On behalf of the panel, I’d like to urge everyone, if you have been captivated by somewhere you have visited, inspired by the people you have met and simply want to highlight the amazing work that is happening in your area, get online and make a nomination for the next Scottish Thistle Awards. We know there are many more tourism superheroes out there!”
The Scottish Thistle Awards, now in their 28th year, are led by a panel of industry experts from several organisations including VisitScotland, Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and sportscotland.