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Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards

Island music festival blows away competition

Marina HuggettA small island music festival almost wrecked by storms this summer has blown away the opposition to win a tourism award.

During this year’s Tiree Music Festival more than 1,000 people had to be evacuated from the site because of strong winds. A huge response from the community and local businesses helped find shelter for festival-goers in schools, the island airport and people’s homes so the event was able to continue.

The festival, which attracted a sell-out 1,700 audience – more than three times the island population – has been voted Best Cultural Event or Festival at the annual Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

And in a double success for the island, the Tiree Wave Classic windsurfing event also won HITA’s new Best Sporting Event category,

The awards were presented last night by Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, at a ceremony in the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness.

In all, 15 tourism businesses and individuals were crowned winners at the event which was hosted by celebrity chef Tony Singh.

Mr Ewing said: “The Highlands and Islands boast some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery and exciting events and these awards recognise the wealth of experience, the commitment and excellence of tourism operators in the region.

“I commend the hard work and commitment of everyone who extends a warm welcome and high standard of service to Scotland’s visitors. While Tiree in particular can celebrate a deserved double win, I congratulate all of this year’s winners and send best wishes for a long, enjoyable and worthwhile career in tourism and hospitality.”

Marina Huggett, chairman of HITA, said: “Well done to all this year’s winners who are all outstanding in their categories. The record number of entries and nominations we received this year and the exceptionally high standards throughout the contest made it extremely difficult for the judges to pick winners.”

The HITA winners will represent the region at the national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards next year.

Best Cultural Event or Festival  

Tiree Music Festival

Best Holiday Accommodation   

Torrisdale Castle Estate, Kintyre

Best Informal Eating Experience

Mountain Café, Aviemore

Best Outdoor / Adventure Experience

Skye Adventure

Best Restaurant Experience

Ninth Wave Restaurant, Mull

Best Sporting Event

Tiree Wave Classic

Best Visitor Attraction

Aberlour Distillery, Speyside

Friendliest Pub / Bar

Applecross Inn, Wester Ross

Hospitality Hero

Emma Clark, Glenegedale House, Islay

Innovation Award  

North Highland Initiative

Most Hospitable B&B / Guest House   

Ardtorna, Oban

Most Hospitable Hotel

Kylesku Hotel, Sutherland

Tourism Everyone’s Business  

WOW Scotland Tours Ltd, Inverness

Young Ambassador of the Year

Kyle Beattie, Boots N Paddles, Inverness

Ambassador of the Year

Calum Ross, Loch Melfort Hotel, Oban

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