Local awards open for entries from vibrant innovative sector

2023 ACSTA WInners

THE Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards, the prestigious awards scheme that celebrates the best of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry, are now open for entries from businesses and individuals who have excelled in the past year. The awards champion the north east tourism sector’s vibrancy, innovation and success.

The awards, which are organised by industry professionals, recognise excellence across 15 categories, ranging from Best Bar or Pub to Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience. Winners of the awards automatically become finalists in the national 2024 Scottish Thistle Awards.

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Stephen Gow MI FIH, chairman of the awards committee, commented: “The Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards, now in their 12th year, were established by a committee of volunteers enthusiastic about championing entrepreneurship and innovation. The Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards aim to shine a spotlight on the diverse range of businesses that contribute to the vibrancy and success of the region’s tourism and hospitality. From small enterprises to larger corporations, all are encouraged to apply and showcase their commitment to excellence. We want to hear from those who have gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional experiences to their customers and guests, and who have demonstrated their commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism practices.”

“The Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards are a great way to showcase your business, reward your team, and raise your profile locally and nationally. They are also a chance to benchmark yourself against the best in the industry. Whether you are a small B&B or a large visitor attraction, a new entrant or a previous winner, a solo operator or have a significant team, we encourage you to enter and share your story with us.”

The 15 categories for the 2024 Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards are:

  • Best Bar or Pub
  • Best B & B or Guest House Experience
  • Best Eating Experience
  • Best Hotel Experience
  • Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience
  • Best Self Catering or Unique Stay
  • Best Visitor Attraction
  • Celebrating Thriving Communities
  • Climate Action
  • Inclusive Tourism
  • Innovation in Tourism
  • Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival
  • Tourism and Hospitality Employer of the Year
  • Tourism Individual of the Year
  • MacRobert Trust Rising Star Award

Some of the previous winners of the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards include:

Down On The Farm – winner of the Best Outdoor Experience award in 2023 for its experience in Rosehearty by Fraserburgh in coastal vintage railway carriages and high seas hideaways.

Carole Short of Down On The Farm commented: “Being part of the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards has been really beneficial for our business.  Guests got behind us and offered wonderful words of encouragement and support before the event, and after the event there was more awareness of what we offer, lovely compliments, and it raised our profile within the area.”

Rachael Iveson Brown, director of Wild Discovery in Royal Deeside, was winner of the 2022 Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience. The cimpany went onto scoop the Scottish Thistle Award winner in the same year and was also finalist of best outdoor or adventure experience in 2023. Rachael had a message for potential entrants: “Just do it! Find the time and go through each section carefully. Don’t be afraid to shout about yourself! The marketing opportunities are invaluable. Don’t underestimate the value of winning an award – money can’t buy the majority of opportunities that have arisen as part of this process. Take the time to fill out the forms – it’s worth it!”

Entries for the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards are free and can be made online at www.acsta.co.uk until 28 April 2024. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen on 20 September 2024, and will go on to represent the region at the national Thistle Awards later in the year.

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