Showcasing Excellence: Highlighting Past Winners

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Aberdeen City and Shire has a wide range of businesses but also thriving communities, all proving just how important they are collectively for our tourism product in the north east. The annual Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the tourism and hospitality sector and how our businesses deliver for visitors from across the globe.

Let’s look into the stories behind these remarkable winners, where passion meets innovation.

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Celebrating Thriving Communities

Winner: Royal Deeside Golf Week - 2023

Royal Deeside Golf Week isn’t just about fairways and greens because it’s a community-driven experience. Golfers from diverse backgrounds converge, sharing stories and forging connections. The organisers’ meticulous planning ensures an inclusive event that brings people together of all skill levels.

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Best Outdoor or Adventure Activity 

Winner: Wild Discovery - 2022

A husband and wife team, Wild Discovery is all about giving people the opportunity to explore wildlife in the area. Embracing conservation and sustainability, our 2022 winner proved just how important it is to highlight the natural world to our visitors. They are professional ecologists, so those who experience Wild Discover benefit from their expertise and enthusiasm.

Dan Brown, owner of Wild Discovery along with his wife Rachel encourages other tourism businesses to enter the 2024 awards, “Winning the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Award was not only an honour but it has been highly beneficial to our business. The validation that comes with such an accolade clearly reassures and encourages prospective clients to book with us and it has undoubtedly been responsible for a significant increase in our business turnover so far this year.”

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Best Eating Experience

Winner: Amuse - 2023

We all know how food brings people together and Amuse understands the true meaning of good food. The chef’s passion can be seen in all dishes as a fusion of local ingredients and flavours come together to create a dining experience that leaves a lasting impression.

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Tourism and Hospitality Employer of The Year

Winner: The Aberdeen Altens Hotel - 2023

Behind seamless guest experiences lies a dedicated team. The Aberdeen Altens Hotel is all about providing guests with a memorable stay. However, there is an ongoing commitment to staff development, ensuring everyone who stays with them has the best possible experience.

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Tourism Individual of the Year

Winner: Ian Pithie Gordon Highlanders Museum -2023

The accolade of Tourism Individual of The Year 2023 was given to Ian Pithie, head of visitor experience at The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen. Ian’s colleagues describe his positivity and enthusiasm as infectious. Judges were impressed by his introduction of digital audio tour guides in nine international languages including Doric and described him as “a remarkable human being; modest and inspirational.”

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The MacRobert Trust Emerging Talent Award

Winner: Rosa Jackson, Leonardo Hotels - 2023

Rosa Jackson, trainee duty manager at Leonardo Hotels in Aberdeen, was named the inaugural MacRobert Trust Emerging Talent winner in 2023. Beginning her career as an apprentice, Rosa has already achieved much, being named employee of the year in 2022 within her hotel and undertaking training with Leonardo’s Insights for future managers. Judges were impressed by Rosa’s composed, friendly, outgoing and professional demeanour and cited her as “a general manager of the future”.

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Working Together for Tourism

Winner: Cairngorm Lodges and Bothies - 2022

Tourism is key to the area and Cairngorm Lodges and Bothies enable guests to discover the wonders of the area. The natural beauty surrounds all accommodation but there is more to this place than meets the eye because it’s all designed around sustainability. This ensures that everyone is working together to make the planet a better place.

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Best Visitor Attraction

Winner: Aberdeen Art Gallery - 2023

Art enthusiasts have a lot to explore here and giving artists the opportunity to connect with audiences is the reason why Aberdeen Art Gallery is a worthy winner.

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Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival

Winner: Aberdeen Jazz Festival - 2022

Festivals have the ability to bring people together and the Aberdeen Jazz Festival is no different. A worthy winner, this festival is all about giving people the opportunity to indulge in local performers and artists who are eager to entertain. Exciting and thrilling in equal measures, it’s an event that draws people in from all over the area.

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Best Visitor Attraction Experience

Winner: Macduff Marine Aquarium - 2022

With the coastline on its doorstep, there is no surprise that there is a lot on offer here. Offering an exciting day out for families, the aquarium allows visitors to explore everything from estuaries to the shore. From baby sharks to jellyfish, this is an attraction that has a lot to offer.


These past winners are a clear indication of just how varied and diverse Aberdeen City and Shire truly is.

Showcase your achievements in the tourism and hospitality sector by entering the 2024 Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards.