TOURISM businesses across the Borders are celebrating after winning a bumper crop of regional tourism awards.

A total of seven coveted prizes were won at the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals for the Lothian and Borders regional final of the Scottish Thistle Awards, which took place on Thursday, November 23 at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Scottish Thistle Awards, which celebrates success, innovation, excellence and best practice in the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Galashiels' Peter Gilchrist was named HIT Scotland Regional Rising Star, which celebrates individuals who show real promise as a rising star in Scottish tourism and a passion for their future and the future of the industry.

Other winners on the night included; Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen (Best Heritage Tourism Experience), Seasons - Full of Flavour restaurant in Gattonside (Best Informal Eating Experience) and Windlestraw in Walkerburn (Most Hospitable Hotel).

Further afield, other winners were; Airhouses near Lauder (Best Accommodation Provider), The Firebrick Brassiere in Lauder (Best Restaurant Experience) and Kingsmuir House in Peebles (Most Hospitable B&B/Guest house).

Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel and VisitScotland Board member, said: “On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. They are a credit to themselves, their local area and the entire Scottish tourism sector.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.

“As we prepare to celebrate our 25th anniversary I’d like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition.”

Regional rising star Peter Gilchrist said: “It’s incredibly fulfilling to be asked to bring your ideas to the table and validating to be given opportunities to lead. Getting this recognition as I am just getting my start is an amazing vote of confidence. I hope this leads the way for more young people to be invited to the table.”

Roger McKie from Seasons said: “Bea and I are delighted to win this award not just for us and the team at Seasons, but also for the wonderful local producers and suppliers in the Scottish Borders who allow us to use the very best of the wonderful larder that the Scottish Borders.”

For more, visit: