Visitor attractions in the Lothians have been celebrated at a national awards ceremony recognising excellence in the tourism industry.
Our Dynamic Earth at Holyrood and the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick both scooped prizes at the Scottish Thistle Awards.
Run by VisitScotland, the awards – which celebrate quality and innovation – were held at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery yesterday evening.
Dynamic Earth won the award for the best marketing campaign of the year. The attraction explores the planet’s past, present and future, with interactive exhibits and impressive technology, including a 4D experience.
Marketing director Catriona Cardie said: “We were up against some very stiff competition in these prestigious awards so are delighted to be recognised by the industry in this way.
“We particularly value this award as it recognises our commitment to deliver the highest standards and demonstrates that we are communicating well with our audiences.”
Meanwhile, five-star tourist attraction the Scottish Seabird Centre won the prize for best nature-based experience.
Funded by the Millennium Commission, the showpiece of the centre is the network of cameras which beam back live pictures from bird colonies on the Bass Rock and Fidra.
Ahead of the ceremony, the centre’s chief executive, Tom Brock, said: “To win the regional award for the new format of the Thistle Awards was fantastic for the Seabird Centre and great recognition for our committed team of staff and volunteers.
“We are focused on providing visitors with an amazing wildlife experience in a truly unique environment.”
This year’s Silver Thistle Award, awarded for outstanding contribution to the country’s tourism industry, went to 73-yearold Ian Cleaver of Highland Heritage, a coach tour operator based out of Dalmally, Argyll.
Recognition was also given to Mark Andrews, the director of Brave, who received the Global Scottish Thistle Award, a new award for those who have helped to put Scotland on the world stage, especially with the eyes of the world turning towards the country in 2014 for the Commonwealth Games.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland’s tourism industry makes an immense contribution to the economy and the Scottish Thistle Awards recognises and celebrates excellence in the sector.”