And, in Scotland…

By | Category: Travel news
Battle of Bannockburn Experience

Robert the Bruce statue at the Battle of Bannockburn Experience

On top of those visitor awards in the north east of England come two sets of Scottish awards in the tourism sector.

The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) and Visit Scotland’s regional finanlists have been announced.

ASVA doesn’t hand out as many awards as other groups which makes winning a little bit harder when there is more competition. Its Best Visitor Experience went to The Battle of Bannockburn Experience which is to be found just outside Stirling. Obviously in the anniversary of the battle this year, the site proved to be a large draw for visitors.  ALVA’s other main award – that of marketing – went to “Puffin’tastic Fun!” at the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.

The regional winners of Visit Scotland’s Thistle Awards go forward   – like those in England – to national awards which aren’t handed out until next year. Going forward will be – for Best Visitor Attraction – will be The Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, Blair Castle near Pitlochry and Beam Suntory on the Isle of Islay.

How visitors like us are welcomed and treated is an important feature in tourism and, in my opinion, is much overlooked by tourist bodies when they design awards. Not so in Scotland where Visit Scotland recognises this with an award called “Our warmest welcome.” The winners going forward to the nationals are Loch Leven’s Larder in Kinross, McKinlay Kidd in Glasgow and CruiseForth Welcome Volunteers.

ScotRail –possibly, for the last time as they have lost the rail franchise in Scotland – sponsor the Best Event/Festival award and those winners were, The Wickerman Festival in Dumfries and Galloway, The Enchanted Forest in Perthshire and the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

The Forestry Commission in Scotland sponsor the award for Best Outdooor/Adventure Experience and those went to Galloway Activity Centre in Castle Douglas, “Blown Away” in St Andrews and Comrie Croft in Crieff.

When handing out awards to hotels, Visit Scotland doesn’t refer to them as “best” but rather “most hospitable” which seems altogether a much better way to rate a place providing accommodation making it sound more welcoming and friendly. “Best” doesn’t necessarily imply that “hospitable” is part of the mix, merely that it is efficient and delivers what it says.

So the most hospitable hotel goes to Crieff Hydro, Glenisle Hotel and Bistro on the Isle of Arran and Prestonfield in Edinburgh. The same award for guesthouses and B&B’s went to Glenegedale House on the Isle of Islay, Fauhope House in Melrose and Craigatin House & Courtyeard in Pitlochrie.

Continuing that theme of friendliness, the friendliest pub or bar was adjudged to be The Station Bar in Glasgow, the Bridge Inn  at ratho and the Cheers Café Bar and Tavern in Fraserburgh.

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