CHAMPIONS OF TOURISM ANNOUNCED!

Sixteen outstanding tourism businesses and individuals were revealed on Friday at the eighth annual Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) ceremony and gala dinner at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness.  HITA recognises and rewards businesses and individuals offering superior service levels and customer awareness throughout the Highlands and Islands tourism industry.

Amongst the list of outstanding winners, owner and managing director of the Cobbs group, based at Loch Ness, Fraser Campbell, was awarded the coveted HITA Highlands and Islands  Ambassador of the Year award.

The 2013 Awards were opened by HITA Chairperson, Marina Huggett, Minister of Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing and Chairman of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Stephen Leckie, following entertainment from magician, Clive Grewcock, the Black watch 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and Pipe major Richard Grisdale, and musicians, Ruairidh McDonald and Colin and Alan Train, before the winners were announced. The awards were presented by the master of ceremonies, Robert Lovie.

The full list of HITA 2013 winners are Best Bar, Café or Restaurant Award winner – Café Artysans, Inverness, Best Cultural Event Award winner  – Tiree Music Festival, Tiree, Best Sporting Event Award winner – Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland’s Culloden Run, Inverness, Best Shopping Experience – Johnstons of Elgin, Elgin, Best Guest House or B & B Award  Wemyss House, Tain, Best Hotel Award winner  – Duisdale House Hotel, Isle of Skye, Best Self-Serve Accommodation Award – Whitefalls Spa Lodges, Isle of Lewis, Best Tour Operator Programme award winner – Wilderness Scotland, Aviemore , Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Boots N Paddles / TreeZone, Inverness, Marketing Campaign of the Year  Award – Wilderness Scotland, Aviemore, Best Partnership in Tourism award winner – Highland Experience Tours, Highland-wide operation, Best Nature Based Experience Award – Aigas Field Centre, Inverness-shire, Best Visitor Attraction Award – The Glenlivet Distillery Visitor Centre, Ballindalloch and the winner of the Training and Skills Development Award – Frankie’s Fish & Chips, Shetland.  Andrew Whitehouse, Café Artysans, Inverness and Gordon Pearson, WOW Scotland, Inverness were awarded HITA Best Young Ambassador of the Year 2013.

Each of the HITA winners* were automatically given a place on the shortlist of VisitScotland’s national tourism awards scheme, the Scottish Thistle Awards, providing the opportunity for HITA winners to be acknowledged nationally for their achievements. The Scottish Thistle Awards will be held on 15 November this year.

Marina Huggett, chairperson of HITA said: “In this our eighth year of operation, the HITA Board is delighted to report our biggest number of registrations for the awards. This high level coupled with the excellent quality of applicants made the task of our independent judging panel even more challenging.

We would like to say “well done” to every one of our finalists and to the winners “congratulations”. The hard work and determination of businesses like theirs is what puts Scotland on the map and helps us become a “must visit” destination.”

For more information please log on to www.highland-tourism-awards.co.uk

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