Argyll hotelier’s contribution to tourism celebrated at Scottish Thistle Awards

Calum Ross, managing director and proprietor of the Loch Melfort Hotel received the prestigious Silver Thistle Award which celebrates an established figure within the Scottish tourism and events industry who delivers stand-out work and inspires excellence in others.

Under his ownership, Loch Melfort Hotel has thrived in the last 14 years, helping to support the local community and economy to grow, with responsible tourism at the heart of the hotel’s operations.

Calum also holds several voluntary board positions, including Director of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Chair of the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards. He is also a member of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group and served on the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce during COVID-19.

A total of 17 businesses and individuals were honoured at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final, the highest accolade in the Scottish hospitality, tourism and events sector.

After a break of three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Final returned to Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Thursday 9 February.

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered by VisitScotland, sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin and include a media partnership with News Scotland for the first time this year. They celebrate the very best of tourism in Scotland and the excellence that is helping to rebuild this vital part of the Scottish economy.

Previous winners of the prestigious Silver Thistle award include Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, Willie Cameron and Willie Macleod.

The award was presented to Calum by Chairman of VisitScotland Lord Thurso who said: “It was my pleasure to present Calum with the Silver Thistle Award at the ceremony.

“This award recognises the outstanding contribution Calum has made to tourism in Scotland over the years. He is a true ambassador for Scottish tourism and has provided invaluable guidance and support for the industry during challenging times.

“As a Silver Thistle Award winner, he joins a prestigious roll of honour of the very best in our business; those who ensure that tourism is celebrated for not only the economic value it generates but also the positive impact it makes to people and to our communities.”

Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel Steven Walker said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to Calum Ross on receiving the Silver Thistle Award. Calum is a successful hotelier and is passionate about tourism and the positive benefits it can bring to people, communities and Scotland as a whole.

“He leads by example in everything that he does and has been instrumental in highlighting the responsible tourism and fair work principles in his own business and ensuring that they are recognised for the benefits that they bring.”

On receiving the award, Calum paid tribute to his amazing team. He said: “I have only been able to do what I have thanks to their support and the inspiration from so many people in this room over the years.”

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered in partnership with Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) and supported by a panel of industry representatives.

The awards champion innovation, collaboration and sustainable practices, in line with the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Outlook 2030.

Responsible tourism is at the heart of the refreshed Scottish Thistle Awards, supporting the aim for Scotland to be recognised globally as a leader in this field.

As well as a new category celebrating those businesses and events which have embraced responsible tourism, every entry was required to provide clear evidence – covering the last two years – on how their business addresses four key areas of a low carbon economy, inclusivity, thriving communities and Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.

For more information on the Scottish Thistle Awards, visit www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk