Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards winners 2023 revealed at gala dinner and ceremony

Tony Story (centre), Highland Ambassador for 2023, with HITA chairman Calum Ross (left) and Stuart Black (right), Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

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IT WAS a wonderful night of celebration as the winners of the 2023 Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards (HITA) were announced.

The winners were revealed at a sold-out gala dinner and ceremony at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel, Inverness on Friday.

A total of 17 winners were announced at the event, which this year sold out in record time, and a number of businesses were also highly commended.

The HITA winners 2023 are:

  • Best BB or Guest House – Melfort House
  • Best Bar or Pub – MacGregor’s
  • Best Eating Experience – Edinbane Lodge (Highly Commended – The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant)
  • Best Hotel Experience – Duisdale House Hotel
  • Best Outdoor Adventure – Wilderness Scotland (Highly Commended – Wilder Ways)
  • Best Self Catering Accommodation – The Tin Shed
  • Best Visitor Attraction – Seabirds-and-Seals – The Original Noss Boat Tours
  • Celebrating Thriving Communities – Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Forum (GALE)
  • Climate Action – Wilderness Scotland
  • Inclusive Tourism – Seabirds-and-Seals – The Original Noss Boat Tours
  • Innovation in Tourism – Stories of Scotland Podcast
  • Outstanding Cultural Event – HebCelt Festival
  • Tourism & Hospitality Employer of the Year – The Drumossie Hotel
  • Tourism Individual of the Year – Michael Golding
  • Highland Rising Star – Dylan Wynne
  • Highland Ambassador – Tony Story
  • Hospitality Hero – Marion MacNeil, Heathbank 

HITA chairman, Calum Ross, was delighted for all of the winners and the highly commended businesses at this year’s awards.

“What an incredible night for the Highlands & Islands’ tourism and hospitality sector! Huge congratulations go to all of the winners. We are absolutely thrilled for each and every one of them.

“They have proved yet again what exceptional talent we have here. Not only do these individuals and businesses offer a first-class tourism experience to visitors from around the UK and the rest of the world. They also contribute so much to a sector that provides exciting and rewarding careers to a local workforce, both young people and those looking for a new challenge.

“It was great to see all our finalists enjoy a well-deserved night off and we were delighted to celebrate their success with them.

“A big thank you to our hosts, the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel, Inverness for the fantastic hospitality and gala dinner. The evening was a fitting end to the 2023 contest that saw our best and brightest talent shine.

“And of course we thank all of our generous sponsors, friends and partners for supporting the awards which could not take place without them.”

Covering all the regions of the Highlands and Islands; from Argyll in the west, to Moray in the east, and Orkney and Shetland in the north, the annual Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards brought together industry leaders, rising stars, new enterprises and trusted names to celebrate achievements and recognise excellence in the sector. 

Many winners from the regional awards will go forward to win at the national finals, the VisitScotland Thistle Awards in December.


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