Two leading lights of the north-east tourism industry have been shortlisted for an award recognising those who dedicate their time and energy to giving visitors exceptional experiences. Peter Walker, general manager of luxury venue Meldrum House Country Hotel, and restaurateur and chef Craig Wilson from Eat on the Green are finalists in the ambassador of the year category of the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA).
Peter has overseen the multi million pound redevelopment of Meldrum House, growing it into one of the region’s most popular hotels, while also supporting initiatives to train young entrants into the hospitality sector. Craig – better known as The Kilted Chef – has put the region on the radar of foodies nationwide. He is passionate about using local produce, and is a tireless supporter of charities.
Craig is also nominated for the hospitality hero award, while Meldrum House is a contender for most hospitable hotel – an accolade which it has won on three occasions in the past.
The pair are among 46 finalists announced today (September 15, 2017) in the ACSTA 2017 shortlist. Peterhead Prison Museum has scored three nominations in the best visitor attraction, innovation in tourism and working together in tourism categories, while No 10 Bar & Restaurant is up for two awards. The Aberdeen venue will be hoping to retain the best informal eating experience title that it won last year, and add to it with the best restaurant award.
Alison Christie, chairman of ACSTA, says the shortlist reflects the wide and varied nature of the tourism sector in the city and shire, and the hard work that takes place across the region to ensure that both leisure and business tourists enjoy the best possible experiences.
“Once again this year the judging panel has been very impressed by the many examples of excellent customer service and commitment to ensuring guests are very well looked after when they visit,” she adds.
“It has been particularly heartening to see entries from so many operators and individuals who have not entered before, along with those who have been shortlisted in previous years of ACSTA and are continuing to enter because of the added value the awards bring to their business.
“It does sound like a cliché, but the judging panels do have a very difficult task in whittling down the entries into category shortlists. Every year we see evidence of standards further improving and even more satisfied customers leaving with very happy memories, and it is extremely difficult to narrow it down when the industry is performing so well across the board.”
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 24. The winners of ACSTA 2017 will then go on to represent the region in the national tourism Oscars, the Scottish Thistle Awards, which take place in the spring. Further information is available at www.acsta.co.uk
The full shortlist is:
Most Hospitable Hotel - Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course; The Aberdeen Altens Hotel; Tor-Na-Coille Hotel.
Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House - Callater Lodge; The Mill of Dess Lodge; Lys-Na-Greyne.
Best Accommodation Provider - Ballater Hostel; Buttermere Cottage; Down on the Farm
Best Bar/Pub - Revolution Bar Aberdeen; The Grill; McGinty's Meal An' Ale
Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience – Lochter Activity Centre; Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool; Deeside Activity Park
Best Visitor Attraction - Peterhead Prison Museum; Transition Extreme Sports Ltd; DogWalk Brewery Tour
Working Together for Tourism - Aberdeen Festivals / Skene House Apartment Hotels; Discover Fraserburgh Tourism Group; Peterhead Prison Museum
Innovation in Tourism Award - Peterhead Prison Museum; Aberdeen International Airport; Grampian Transport Museum
Tourism and Hospitality Hero - Craig Wilson - Eat on the Green; Colin Gunn - Holiday Inn Aberdeen West; Elma McMenemy - Elma McMenemy Tourism Marketing + PR
Regional Rising Star (Age -30) - Rebecca Forno - Holiday Inn Westhill; Hannah Beedie - Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate; Julia Hays – VisitAberdeenshire
Regional Ambassador (age 31+) - Peter Walker – Meldrum House Country Hotel; Craig Wilson - Eat on the Green
Best Cultural Event or Festival - The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival; SPECTRA, Aberdeen's Festival of Light; True North - Aberdeen's Festival of Music and Song
Best Sporting Event - Baker Hughes 10k Running Festival; Scottish National Age Group Swimming Championships
Best Informal Eating Experience - The Cape Horn Bar; No.10 Bar & Restaurant; The Cock and Bull
Best Restaurant Experience - No.10 Bar & Restaurant; India on the Green; The Davron Hotel
Best Heritage Tourism Experience - Braemar Castle; Glen Garioch Distillery; Maggie's Hoosie