A world-renowned brewery, a former prison and a coastal glamping site – three very different venues which judges in the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) say reflect the vibrant and diverse visitor offering across the region.
DogTap – BrewDog’s bar and visitor facility in Ellon – Peterhead Prison Museum, and High Seas Hobbit near Fraserburgh have all previously scooped accolades in the annual ACSTA scheme, which recognises tourism in all its forms.
With the final entry deadline looming on July 1, time is running out for businesses and individuals who want to enter this year’s awards and join the region’s roll call of honour. There are 14 different categories up for grabs at ACSTA, which is sponsored by laundry and textile rental specialists Fishers.
ACSTA chairman Alison Christie says the choice of hotels, bars, shops and other visitor facilities across the north east has grown considerably in recent years, and so too has the standard of customer service provided.
“We have 14 categories in the awards because the range of what we have to offer is so immense and continues to grow and evolve. Tourism is not just about hotels and B&Bs – everyone from shop owners to bus drivers have a role to play in welcoming tourists, and there is an award category for everyone,” she adds.
“We’ve been really impressed with the entries that have come forward so far, and it’s been great to once again see so many new entrants taking part. Entering the awards is quick and easy – the application process is not onerous and just four simple questions need to be completed. It’s also completely free to enter.
“The feedback we’ve had from previous winners and finalists is that the awards have given additional kudos with customers and have been a great way to recognise the hard work and effort of their staff in continually striving for excellent customer service.”
The 14 different award categories recognise everything from the best bars and eateries, to outstanding visitor attractions and adventure experiences. There are also awards for individuals too, including regional tourism ambassador, rising star and hospitality hero.
All of the ACSTA winners will represent the north east region at the Scottish Thistle Awards next spring – an awards scheme organised by VisitScotland which is widely regarded as the nation’s tourism Oscars.
Entries can be made online now at www.acsta.co.uk and the shortlist of finalists will be announced in the early autumn. Winners will be revealed at a gala dinner and ceremony which takes place at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen on November 23.
The full list of awards categories is: Best Alternative Accommodation Experience; Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House; Most Hospitable Hotel; Best Cultural Event; Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience; Best Eating Experience; Best Visitor Attraction; Best Bar/Pub; Innovation in Tourism; Regional Ambassador (age 31+); Regional Rising Star (age -30); Tourism and Hospitality Hero; Working Together for Tourism and Best Heritage Tourism Experience.