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From luxury country house hotels to cosy bed and breakfasts and from multi-million pound visitor attractions to community-run tourist initiatives – the finalists in the 2018 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) represent the industry across all its forms.
The shortlisted finalists in 14 different categories were announced today (Friday, September 28) with contenders now facing a nail biting wait until the overall winners are announced in November.
Among those going for glory will be Meldrum House Hotel, which is aiming to pick up the most hospitable hotel title for a record fifth time, while Lys-Na-Greyne in Aboyne will be looking to win most hospitable B&B/guest house category for the second year running.
Peterhead Prison Museum, Macduff Marine Aquarium, and Bennachie Visitor Centre are contenders for best visitor attraction, while the best cultural event will be a battle between The Echt Show, Nuart and NEOS (North East Open Studios).
A number of leading lights in the north east tourism sector – as well as those just starting out in their careers – have also been shortlisted for individual awards, including rising star, regional ambassador and hospitality hero.
ACSTA chairman Alison Christie said that, once again, the shortlist underlines the strength in depth of the tourism industry across the region, with many different facets represented.
She added: “The awards aim to celebrate everything that is great about our tourism industry, and they really do reflect a wide range of individuals and businesses, all doing their own bit to help put Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire on the map for both leisure and business visitors.
“They all have their own part to play in a critically important industry to the region – one which continues to grow with the launch of new hotels, bars, restaurants and attractions month by month – and the awards aim to show how much their efforts are appreciated.
“ACSTA showcases the best of the best, and the judging panel – as always – had an incredibly difficult task in selecting the cream of the crop.”
The winners of ACSTA will go on to represent Aberdeen City and Shire in the national finals of the Scottish Thistle Awards – the annual tourism Oscars organised by VisitScotland.
ACSTA takes place at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen on November 23, with money raised on the night being donated to the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland. This organisation empowers inspirational development for anyone working or studying within the hospitality industry.
The full list of shortlisted finalists is:
1. Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House – Lys-na-Greyne, Feughside Guesthouse, No 45 Ballater
2. Most Hospitable Hotel – Meldrum House, Saplinbrae, Altens Hotel
3. Best Self Catering – Deeside Holiday Park, Dalriada, Buttermere Cottages
4. Best Cultural Event – The Echt Show, Nuart, NEOS
5. Best Eating Experience – Eat on the Green, Tin Coo, Douneside House
6. Best Visitor Attraction – Peterhead Prison Museum, Macduff Marine Aquarium, Bennachie Visitor Centre
7. Best Bar/Pub – Grape and Grain, The Grill
8. Innovation in Tourism – Ballater Caravan Park, CBP and VisitCairngorm, Travel by Night
9. Regional Ambassador (age 31+) – David McCubban, VisitAberdeenshire; David Hutton, Jurys Inn Aberdeen; Craig Wilson, Eat on The Green
10. Regional Rising Star (age -30) – Nicola Downie, Meldrum House Hotel; Raeanne Verlegh, VisitAberdeenshire; Indre Valinciute, Ardoe House and Spa
11. Tourism and Hospitality Hero – Elma McMenemy, Elma McMenemy Tourism; Melanie Dalton, Douneside; Davut Bulu, Banchory Lodge
12. Working Together for Tourism – Glen Garioch Distillery, Aberdeen Tour Series, The Northern Lights Lounge (Aberdeen Airport)
13. Best Heritage Tourism Experience – Fraserburgh Heritage Centre, Glen Garioch Distillery