North-east tourism industry achievements were celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony at Ardoe House Hotel, near Aberdeen, last night.
Among the accolades presented was a lifetime achievement award for Jim Byers, the former general manager at the Brentwood Hotel.
Mr Byers, now retired, was joined on the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards’ honours list by 14 category winners.
The event, organised by Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association (ACSHA), was attended by 300 industry professionals and hosted by broadcaster Tam Cowan.
Mr Byers, a former ACSHA chairman, entered the hospitality industry after spending time in the licensed trade with Scottish and Newcastle Brewers.
A move into hotel work saw him gain a reputation for excellence in outside catering at large, prestigious events.
At the Brentwood Hotel, in Crown Street, Aberdeen, he was known for a hands-on approach to the business, whether it was the catering side, or getting involved in the training and development of staff.
He is now honorary treasurer of ACSHA, whose current chairman, Ian Watson, said Mr Byers’ dedication to the association had inspired many of its present members.
Mr Watson said, “Playing a key role in encouraging Aberdeenshire hotels to join the association in its early days, Mr Byers’ commitment to the organisation and to promoting the region’s tourism offering has been unparalleled.
“This award recognises his significant achievements in the industry.”
Last night’s awards celebrated achievements across the north-east hospitality industry, from large businesses to smaller independent outfits.
Orchid Aberdeen and Meldrum House Country Hotel retained their titles – friendliest bar and best hotel respectively – from last year’s inaugural ceremony.
Mr Watson said: “That there has been such a diverse range of tourism businesses across all categories is a really encouraging sign for the north-east tourism industry.
“Aberdeen City and Shire has a lot to offer tourists and all areas of the tourism industry are well represented among this year’s winners.
“The standard of entrants we had this year was incredibly high, and judging was not an easy process.
“With operators of this calibre working tirelessly across the region, tourism in Aberdeen city and shire is in safe hands.”
The other winners were:
Ambassador award – Pam Wells (specialist tour and events)
Young ambassador – Craig McDonald, Glen Tanar Estate
Best restaurant experience – Banchory Lodge Hotel
Best informal eating experience – Buchanan Foods
Warmest welcome – Holiday Inn Aberdeen West
Best event or festival – Wild in Art’s Wild Dolphins project
Green tourism – The Bay Fish and Chips, Stonehaven
Creative ambition – Thistle Hotels
Best visitor attraction – World Horse Welfare, Belwade Farm, Kincardine O’Neil
Most hospitable guesthouse or B&B – Glendavan House, Dinnet near Aboyne
Best holiday accommodation – Ythan Valley campsite/Little Lodge, Smithfield near Ellon
Community involvement – Aberdeen Performing Arts