Tag: HITA2017

News

DEADLINES LOOM FOR HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS TOURISM AWARDS 

Businesses and individuals are being urged to register their nominations and entries for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards with the deadlines just days away.

The annual tourism ‘Oscars’, which were launched in March, will celebrate and honour the best places to stay, eat and drink and enjoy the area’s sporting and musical culture.

This year 16 awards will be presented, with an additional category added, Best Heritage Tourism Experience, to mark Scotland’s themed Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. 

Friday, 23 June is the closing date for nominations in three categories – Tourism and Hospitality Hero, Highland Rising Star and Highland Ambassador.

The deadline for entries in all categories is Friday, 30 June.

To nominate a deserving business or individual, or enter your own business without being nominated, visit the HITA website www.highland-tourism-awards.co.uk

The awards scheme, which is held in association with SSE, is free and is open to people operating in the Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Argyll & Bute (excluding G postcode areas) local authority areas.

Last year, 203 businesses or individuals entered or were nominated for awards, the biggest ever response in the event’s history.

Craig Ewan, the HITA chairman, said: “The number of entries and nominations registered to date is extremely strong and I am hopeful of at least matching last year’s record-breaking total.

“As the deadlines approach, I want to encourage everyone working in tourism and providing excellent service to our visitors to take part in the awards to ensure they have a chance to win one of these sought-after trophies.

“Recognising best practice helps maintain high standards in the industry, while inspiring innovation and improvement.”

HITA is regarded as one of the premier industry hospitality awards programmes in Scotland, where the tourism sector is worth more than £4.5 billion to the economy.

Winners will receive the famous piper trophies at a ceremony in the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, on Friday,3 November and (with the exception of the Highland Rising Star and Highland Ambassador) go on to compete at the glittering Scottish Thistle Awards next year.

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “The Scottish Thistle Awards is a chance to celebrate those who work tirelessly to ensure that all visitors, whether from Scotland or further afield, enjoy a truly memorable experience.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. I’m delighted that these awards continue to recognise the shining lights within our industry.

“This year marks a very special anniversary for the Scottish Thistles Awards, it is our 25th anniversary. In that time, we have recognised the dedication, talent and success of over 350 winners and this year is no exception.

“We would urge all our fantastic tourism businesses to go online, find out what category or categories they think best represents them and enter.”

News

HITA WILL HELP INSPIRE TOURISM BUSINESSES TO GREATER SUCCESS

Shirley Spear, owner and retired head chef of The Three Chimneys Restaurant with Rooms in Skye and former HITA Ambassador of the Year.
I greatly support the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards as the scheme encourages and rewards our best business operators. Awards help to push the quality bar higher by focusing on excellence at every level.  HITA rewards success, but also inspires our industry to constantly seek business improvements, which in turn, benefit their employees and enhance the wider visitor experience.
How times have changed throughout my business lifetime. This year Eddie and I celebrate 32 years running a small business and exactly 18 years since we opened our luxury bedrooms in The House Over-By and were awarded a 5-Star grading by VisitScotland, one of the very first in the Highlands and Islands.
This was the beginning of a whole new era for the region; the beginning of a new approach towards creating a unique, high-quality destination, open all-year-round and an unmissable experience for visitors coming to Scotland.
Our tourism and hospitality industry had been more of a poor relation in the economic scheme of things prior to this change of heart.  A whole new emphasis was placed upon the importance of small business in rural areas.  A new drive to develop the standards of accommodation, customer service, food, drink and overall visitor experience everywhere, soon followed.  Along with this we were encouraged to join new schemes and compete for awards, which all helped to drive forward our reputation.
In my opinion, this new emphasis was a great move and long overdue.  I was delighted that tourism and hospitality was being treated on a much more serious scale, offering great employment and career development for young people and opportunities for those with entrepreneurial spirit to gain a step on the ladder to success.
Today, tourism in the Highlands and Islands remains a crucial element of the on-going Scottish success story, with a wealth of businesses of many kinds and many hundreds of people directly employed throughout our diverse sector. We play a very important role, supporting the nation’s economy and in many places, building micro-economies on a significant scale.
Accommodation at every level, food and drink service of all kinds, visitor attractions large and small, adventurous and explorative outdoor activities, all combine together to create a unique visitor experience.
We must never forget how dependent we are upon one another in business. The overall visitor experience is a combination of everything our customers and guests experience throughout their stay in the Highlands and Islands.  It is so important that we all work hard together, collaborating with one another, to create the best visitor experience we can.
This is why it is also important for all of us to work at the top of our game in every way, in order to maintain the Highlands and Islands as a fantastic destination.
We should be proud to recognise and reward our best tourism operators and that is what schemes like the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards are all about. I hope everyone will feel encouraged to highlight their own success stories by entering an award category this year.
Also, as it is the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, there may be a particular business or person you wish to nominate for the role they have played over the years towards building the region’s profile as a special destination experience.
The Highlands and Islands is thriving in 2017 as a great destination experience and we should continue to work hard and raise our game towards a very positive future.
Be proud to play your part and enter this year’s awards!
 

News

HITA PLAYS CRUCIAL ROLE IN TOURISM AWARDS MOVEMENT

By Rebecca Brooks, VisitScotland Board Member and Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel.
After a hugely successful 2016/17 Scottish Thistle Awards, highlighting the fantastic work of the tourism and hospitality sector across the length and breadth of the country, we are now embracing the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The year will celebrate both our tangible and intangible heritage – everything from our buildings and archaeological sites to our diverse stories, traditions and culture – which will both involve and inspire the tourism sector.
In addition, this year’s theme will be reflected by the introduction of a Best Heritage Tourism Experience category.
It is appropriate that in the year which looks to Scotland’s past, the Scottish Thistle Awards marks its own historical milestone. For a quarter of a century, the excellence, innovation and tireless work that goes into creating a world class visitor experience in Scotland has been recognised by the tourism industry with the annual awards.
The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA), now in their 13th year, play a crucial role within this historical movement by not only being a regional heat for the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final but also reflecting the importance of customer experience in the region.
To receive a HITA nomination is a huge honour and something that those select few should be proud of and share with visitors and the industry. Past recipients such as Scotland’s Best B&B, Mull Eagle Watch, Glenlivet Distillery Visitor Centre, Hebridean Celtic Festival and Eilean Donan Castle, reveal the real strength and depth of quality that the Highlands and Islands has to offer.
Each year, the awards continue to grow in strength, and we look forward to a bumper competition in 2017 following last year’s record-setting number of entries – and the chance for Highlands and Islands businesses to make their own history in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

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