The contest to find the best tourism businesses in the Highlands and Islands has reached new heights with a record number of entries.

Craig Ewan
Craig Ewan

A total of 203 entries have been received for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) this year – up more than 15 per cent on last year’s previous peak figure.

Judging has now started to determine the winners in 15 categories with the best places to stay, eat and drink and enjoy the area’s sporting and musical culture among those to be honoured.

Craig Ewan, the HITA chairman, said: “Beating last year’s record entry was a tough challenge but this year we have reached an all-time high.

“Entries have continued to grow over the last five years and we are delighted that so many of our outstanding tourism businesses are in the running to be recognised by their peers.

“We know that even going through the entering process can have a positive impact on businesses and encourage them to improve even further. The awards also stimulate friendly competition and push up standards which benefits everyone.

“This year will be the toughest contest ever, so good luck to all involved.”

The awards, now in their 12th year, were launched in March by the then tourism minister Fergus Ewing.

A shortlist will be announced in September and the event will culminate in a grand final at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on 4 November.

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

The 2016 categories are –

  • Most Hospitable Hotel
  • Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  • Best Accommodation Provider
  • Best Informal Eating Experience
  • Best Restaurant Experience
  • Friendliest Pub/Bar
  • Best Cultural Event or Festival
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  • Tourism and Hospitality Hero
  • Best Visitor Attraction
  • Working Together for Tourism
  • Best Sporting Event
  • Innovation in Tourism
  • Highland Rising Star
  • Highland Ambassador

Facebook –

Twitter – @HiTourismAwards


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