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Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards 2019 shortlist revealed

By John Davidson

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Tourism businesses across the Highlands and Islands are celebrating after being shortlisted in a prestigious awards event.

More than 40 firms and individuals operating in the sector are in line for a prize at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) after judges whittled down hundreds of entries to create shortlists in categories ranging from best informal eating experience to innovation in tourism.

HITA chairman Laurence Young said: “With the glittering awards night for the prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards racing towards us, the announcement of the shortlist lifts the excitement quite a few notches higher.

“There was an awesome number of applications this year and this field has now come down to three – or in some cases four – shortlisted businesses across the main awards.

HITA chairman Laurence Young says congratulations are due to all those shortlisted for an award.
HITA chairman Laurence Young says congratulations are due to all those shortlisted for an award.

“With such stiff competition, each of those shortlisted has done so well to get selected and the board of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards pass on their congratulations to each of them.”

At the awards, two Inverness bars will go head to head against a Skye pub in the best bar/pub category, with MacGregor’s Bar and The Malt Room facing stiff competition from the Sligachan Hotel.

Moray firm Johnstons of Elgin is shortlisted in two categories, best heritage tourism experience and best visitor attraction, while Links House at Royal Dornoch is up against Wick’s Mackays Hotel and the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness for best hotel experience.

In Ross-shire, Gairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre is in line for the best outdoor/adventure experience alongside Caledonian Discovery and Seaflower Skye.

Mr Young added: “The awards process is driven by independent, volunteer judges from across tourism businesses in the Highlands. These hard-working individuals deserve their own award for assessing all those applications and determining the shortlist in such a keenly fought battle!”

The winners across 14 categories will be announced at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on Friday, November 1, when the Highland ambassador will also be revealed.

HITA winners in select categories are put through to the finals of the national Scottish Thistle Awards in March 2020.

The 2019 shortlist in full

Best bar/pub

MacGregor’s Bar

Sligachan Hotel

The Malt Room

Best cultural event

Cowal Highland Gathering

HebCelt Festival

Tiree Music Festival

Best heritage tourism experience

Highland Malt Whisky Experience

Johnstons of Elgin

WOW Scotland Tours

Best hotel experience

Kingsmills Hotel

Links House at Royal Dornoch

Mackays Hotel

Best informal eating experience

Café One One Two

Coll Hotel

The Redshank Catering Company

Best outdoor/adventure experience

Caledonian Discovery

Gairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre

Seaflower Skye

Best restaurant experience

Etive Restaurant

Links House at Royal Dornoch

The Pierhouse Hotel

Best self-catering accommodation

Aspen Lodge

Eagle Brae

Craigellachie House (Handpicked Lodges)

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage

Best visitor attraction

Isle of Raasay Distillery

Johnstons of Elgin

The Highlanders’ Museum

Highland ambassador

Announced on the evening

Highland rising star

Catriona McIntosh, Culloden Battlefield

Christina Smith, Ness Walk Hotel

Jordan Clark, Pennygate Lodge

Innovation in tourism

Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative

Chalmersquoy Accommodation

Mull Aquarium

The Majestic Line

Most hospitable B&B/guest house

Button-Ben Guest House

Glenegedale House

The Spey B&B

Tourism and hospitality hero

Abbie Ewart, Portavadie Loch Fyne

Calum Mackenzie, Calum’s Seal Trips

James Ryan, Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre

Siobhan Beatson, Ullapool Museum

Working together for tourism

Destination Orkney

Outer Hebrides Tourism

Skye Connect Ltd

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