WITH thousands of people flocking to the Capital every year for a taste of its Hogmanay celebrations, no one would doubt the popularity of the world-famous festival.
With thousands of people flocking to the Capital every year for a taste of its Hogmanay celebrations, no one would doubt the popularity of the world-famous festival.
And now the three-day extravaganza could be crowned the best cultural event in the country after it was named a regional winner in the prestigious Scottish Thistle Awards.
This week the event bagged the title of best cultural event in the Lothian and Borders region, with more than half of the categories being clinched by businesses from the Capital.
Judges said they were impressed with the “constant reinvention and innovation” used to keep the Hogmanay celebrations “fresh whilst engaging both international and local audiences”.
The festival is produced by Unique Events and its director, Penny Dougherty, said she was “thrilled” to have done so well in the regional round.
She said: “[We] would like to thank everyone who helps deliver this world-class event for Scotland.
“We look forward to welcoming the world to this year’s festival and to representing Edinburgh at the award finals in 2017.”
However it wasn’t just Hogmanay which did well at Thursday night’s glamorous awards reception, which was held at Prestonfield House.
Another winner came in the form of the National Museum of Scotland, which was named the region’s best visitor attraction.
The museum celebrated its 250th anniversary this year by opening 10 new galleries, which judges said offered “new, innovative elements to the experience”.
Some eight categories were won by businesses or events from the Capital, with the Edinburgh Marathon Festival scooping the title of best sporting event.
The Royal Edinburgh was named the region’s ‘most hospitable’ hotel, while Barony House won the equivalent title in the B&B or guesthouse category.
Chester Residence won the best accommodation provider category and when it came to food, the gong for best restaurant experience went to Number One at the Balmoral Hotel.
The awards also served to celebrate individual achievement, with Radical Travel’s general manager Peter Duncan winning the regional ambassador category.
Edinburgh also scooped the rising star award, which was handed to the Can You Escape? director Alastair Watson.
Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel and VisitScotland board member, offered “huge congratulations” to all the regional winners.
She said: “It has been another record-breaking year of entries and winners, and indeed all finalists, should be very proud of their achievements in such a highly competitive field.
“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy – supporting communities and creating jobs throughout the year in every corner of the country.
“The Scottish tourism industry and hospitality sector prides itself on delivering a rewarding experience for visitors and success here is both recognition of excellence and innovation, and a sign of quality.
“It is their warm welcome, embodying the spirit of Scotland, which makes the country a world-class destination for visitors.”
This year the Scottish Thistle Awards received a record-breaking number of entries, totalling 715 across the 15 regional categories, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.
The regional winners will now be pitted against contenders from across the country in the Scottish Thistle Awards’ national final, which will take place in March next year.
For a full list of winners, visit scottishthistleawards.co.uk.