Members of the Scottish tourism industry will now play a key role in recognising the success of individuals and businesses in Dumfries and Galloway.
A panel comprising some of the most senior figures in Scottish tourism is to support a national competition, celebrating excellence within the industry.
For the first time, the Scottish Thistle Awards will be led by several organisations, including VisitScotland, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association. The awards will continue to be organised and delivered by VisitScotland.
Using a new simple and easy online application form, nominations can be submitted by individuals, by others in industry or by the general public.
Shortlisted entries will then compete in 13 regional categories, each of which has been aligned with the Scottish Tourism Strategy 2020, reinforcing links between the industry and the prestigious awards programme.
Regional ceremonies will be held in November in the north-east and Tayside, south/central east, south/central west and the Highlands and Islands. Winners in each category will then go on to represent their region at a glittering final ceremony. The gala event will celebrate the best of the best in the Scottish tourism industry and mark a fitting end to Scottish Tourism Week 2015.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Thistle Awards offer a fitting platform to recognise and reward the hard work, dedication and innovation that is taking place within the Scottish tourism sector.”
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, added: “For the first time the general public can play a part in recognising and celebrating those in Dumfries and Galloway who are going the extra mile in Scottish tourism. Tourism is one of Scotland’s biggest industries; it touches the lives of people across every corner of the country.
“So if you have been impressed by the somewhere you have visited in the local area, inspired by people you have met or just want to shine the spotlight on the great work that is happening, get online and make a nomination!”
To enter or for further information on the Scottish Thistle Awards visit www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk.