Rebecca Brooks, VisitScotland Board Member and Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel.
To win a Highlands and Islands Tourism Award is something to be proud of. Not only are you the best in the region but you have the honour of representing the area at the glittering national final.
The 2017/18 Scottish Thistle Awards National Final, which marked the competition’s silver anniversary, was a time to reflect on those individuals, events and businesses who have shown leadership in the sector.
To have four HITA winners pick up national Thistle Awards was a fantastic achievement for the individua businesses and for the region. My congratulations to Eilean Donan Castle, the Hebridean Celtic Festival, the Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and Portavadie for their success, and to all those who won through to the national final.
The Scottish tourism industry and hospitality sector prides itself on delivering a rewarding experience for visitors.
Our reputation as a world-class destination relies on continued investment and innovation and for the past 25 years the Scottish Thistle Awards has shone a spotlight on the success, innovation and excellence that our Scottish tourism industry delivers.
We need to think bigger about Scotland as a tourism destination to ensure we fulfil our potential – every visitor must get a quality experience every single time.
The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) is an important part of that drive for excellence and last year’s winners reflected the strength and depth at both a regional and national level.
This year is the 2018 Year of Young People. Over the 12 months Scotland will offer inspiration through its young people by celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine on a local and global stage.
As well as providing opportunities for the industry to engage with families and younger visitors through a year-long programme of events, it is also a time to celebrate the young talented individuals within Scottish tourism. For they are our aspiring Scottish Thistle Award winners of the future.
Good luck to everyone who enters or is nominated for HITA recognition this year and we look forward to seeing you at the Thistles.