Five businesses from across the Highlands and Islands have picked up national honours at the Scottish tourism ’Oscars’.

The five category winners in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards in November went on to win at the national finals of the Scottish Thistle Awards, held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Friday.

The Ninth Wave Restaurant in Mull was voted Best Restaurant Experience; The five-star Ardtorna bed and breakfast in Oban was named Most Hospitable B&B /Guest House and the family-run Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland was chosen as Most Hospitable Hotel.

The award for Friendliest Pub/Bar went to the Applecross Inn in Wester Ross, while Tiree Music Festival received a special commendation in the Best Cultural Event or Festival category.

Craig Ewan, Chair of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, said: “Having five of our category winners recognised at the national finals is a great achievement for the individual businesses and also for the industry in the north of Scotland.

“Congratulations to all those who won and were shortlisted for awards.”

This year’s Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, now in their 12th year, were launched last week by tourism minister Fergus Ewing.

He said he expected HITA to build on a record-breaking 2015 which saw the highest number of entries and nominations in 15 categories.

The awards, which are held in association with SSE, are free to enter and businesses or individuals can put themselves forward for recognition or be nominated by customers or other individuals in 15 categories via the HITA website at www.highland-tourism-awards.co.uk

The event will culminate in a grand ceremony for finalists at the Kingsmills Hotel on 4 November.

Last year 190 entries and nominations were received for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. The total was boosted by the inclusion of part of Argyll for the first time, but even without the boundary change the figure was nearly 40 per cent up on 2014.

HITA winners will go on to represent the region at the glittering national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards next year

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