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Tourism Business Encouraged To Enter Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards For Chance To Shine Bright On Tourism’s Big Night

The 17th Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards, celebrating the best tourism businesses in the Highlands s encouraging is encouraging hospitality businesses to enter and bring together industry leaders, rising stars, new enterprises and trusted names to celebrate achievements and recognise excellence in the sector.

The Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards (HITA) categories encompass every aspect of the tourism and hospitality sector including food and drink, accommodation and experiences to outstanding individuals, action on climate change, inclusivity and innovation.

The 2024 HITA categories are:

  • Best bar or pub
  • Best eating experience
  • Best hotel experience
  • Best self-catering or unique stay
  • Best B&B or guest house experience
  • Outstanding cultural event or festival
  • Celebrating thriving communities
  • Inclusive tourism
  • Climate action
  • Best visitor attraction
  • Best outdoor or adventure experience
  • Tourism and hospitality employer of the year
  • Tourism individual of the year
  • Highland ambassador
  • Rising star
  • Innovation in tourism

Ben Thorburn, head of marketing at Wilderness Scotland, Aviemore which won the HITA and national Scottish Thistle awards in 2023 for best outdoor or adventure experience and also climate action, urged fellow businesses to enter the awards: “If you’re thinking about entering ‒ just go ahead and do it! The anticipation of being shortlisted and then hopefully turning up at the awards ceremony and taking away an award is fun and can really act as an incentive for the team.

“Beyond that, it’s a celebration of everything you yourselves are doing as businesses across the Highlands and Islands.”

Garry Munro, director for commercial markets for the Highlands and Islands at headline sponsor, Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “It’s a great way to showcase how well you’ve done, to tell your story, to tell people about all the excellent work your business does, how you deliver fantastic customer service, how you collaborate and how well you treat your people.

“It’s a great way to demonstrate that and to get to a wider audience.”

Covering all the regions of the Highlands and Islands; from Argyll in the west, to Moray in the east, and Orkney and Shetland in the north, the annual Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards bring together industry leaders, rising stars, new enterprises and trusted names to celebrate achievements and recognise excellence in the sector.

Winners proceed to the Scottish Thistle Awards national final to represent the region and compete with the best of the rest of the country.

In addition to the HITA categories, there are also three national-only Scottish Thistle Awards categories to enter:

  • Best business event
  • Best luxury experience
  • Outstanding sporting event

The Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards ceremony will be held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on October 4, and will be a fantastic opportunity to shine the spotlight on the region’s best tourism and hospitality businesses.

Entries to the awards close on April 28. Visit to find out more.