Edinburgh hotelier and restaurateur James Thomson has won the prestigious Silver Thistle award for his outstanding contribution to the development of tourism in Scotland.
Hotels and restaurants seized nearly half of the 17 awards in the 13th annual Scottish Thistle awards, organised by Scottish tourist board VisitScotland and presented in Edinburgh on Friday evening.
He said Thomson was "one of our most enthusiastic ambassadors for Scotland, for Edinburgh and the wider tourism and hospitality industries, where he is involved in a range of quality improvements and charitable initiatives.
"His contribution to national training and exchange in best practice has been tireless."
Edinburgh also figured heavily in the Customer Care category. The hotel award went to Sir Rocco Forte's Balmoral, while Six Mary's Place topped the guesthouse/B&B category.
The Lochside Lodge and Roundhouse restaurant near Kirriemuir in Angus scooped the Caterer-sponsored Flavour of Scotland award for its use of fresh, local Scottish produce.
The Auchrannie Resort - a complex of hotel, spa, self-catering lodges and conference centre in Brodick, Isle of Arran - won the Scotland Year-Round award for its efforts to boost tourism during the quieter seasons.
Hoteliers also scooped a clutch of awards for marketing and staff skills.
The Marketing Initiative awards for small and large businesses went to Beechwood Country House hotel in Moffat, Dumfries & Galloway, and to the Edinburgh-based Townhouse Company respectively.
St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa in St Andrews, Fife, won the Skills for Success award for large companies. The small company award went to Elle Events, an Edinburgh-based organiser of corporate conferences, events and incentive trips.
The other Scottish Thistle award winners were:
- Customer Care - Camping and Caravan Park of the Year: Trossachs Holiday Park, Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire
- Customer Care - Self-Catering Operator of the Year: Crathie Opportunity Holidays, Ballater, Aberdeenshire
- Customer Care - Visitor Attraction of the Year: Newhailes, The National Trust for Scotland, Musselburgh, East Lothian
- Tourism and the Environment: Cream O'Galloway organic farm and tourist attraction, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway
- Innovation: The Scottish Borders - for its promotion as Scotland's dog-friendly holiday destination
- Events and Festivals: The Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh
- Travel Journalism (print and on-line media): A Taste of Scotland, a special edition by US publication Bon Appetit
- Travel Journalism (broadcast media): Holiday 2004 - Lonach Highland Games (BBC Holiday)
by Angela Frewin
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