• Coastal trail in South Ronaldsay, Orkney

Finalists announced for Orkney Tourism Awards 2022

Finalists for the inaugural Orkney Tourism Awards have been announced this week by organisers, Destination Orkney.

The awards, funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Orkney Islands Council, cover 13 different categories - everything from the best newcomer to local tourism and the most innovative visitor experience, to the visitor attraction of the year and the best welcome to Orkney.

Accolades for green innovation and responsible tourism are also included, along with prizes for accommodation providers, retailers and employees.

Nominations for five of the award categories were made by members of Destination Orkney, while eight finalists have been chosen after voting by local people and visitors to Orkney over the last year.

Winners will be announced at a gala event being staged by Destination Orkney in Kirkwall’s St Magnus Centre, on Saturday 25 February.

Category winners will receive a special awards trophy - sponsored by NorthLink Ferries – with each one an original design by local artist Ruth D Brough of Orkney Inspired Art. In addition to being able to highlight their achievement in promotional material and on their websites, winners will be nominated by Destination Orkney for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards and the Thistle Awards.

Destination Orkney’s destination manager, Ailsa Heal, said: “Firstly, a huge congratulations to all of our finalists and a big thanks to our sponsors, too. This is the first time we’ve run an awards scheme for our hard-working members who put so much effort into ensuring the experience for visitors to Orkney is second to none, and it’s been so encouraging to see such a positive response, both from Destination Orkney member businesses and the general public. We’re all really excited about this month’s event, which also gives our members the opportunity to relax and have some fun before the 2023 tourism season gets underway fully.

She added: “We hope the Orkney Tourism Awards will become a regular fixture in Orkney’s events calendar and also be viewed as a quality seal of approval by visitors to the islands.”

Cheryl Chapman, VisitScotland Orkney development manager, said: “It is great to see Orkney tourism businesses being celebrated for their innovation, best practice, collaboration and achievements. As a member of the judging panel for the member-nominated awards, I have been really impressed by the hard work, investment and creative approaches of businesses wanting to deliver great experiences to visitors. Well done to all those nominated, short-listed and to the worthy winners, who will go forward to the Highland and Islands Tourism Awards and Thistle Awards for further recognition.”

Orkney Tourism Awards 2022 Public Vote Shortlist

Tour Guide of the Year

Spiritual Orkney

Ness of Brodgar Trust

Fernvallery Wildlife Centre

Best Hands-on Experience

Sea Kayak 59 Degrees North

Skaill House Falconry

Orkney Time Travel

Visitor Attraction of the Year

Fernvalley Wildlife Centre

Skaill House Falconry

Ness of Brodgar Trust

Employee of the Year

Rena Johnston, Kristin Linklater Voice Centre

Andrea Holmes, Andrea Holmes Artist

Keith & Andrea, Skaill House Falconry

Serviced Accommodation of the Year

Merkister Hotel

Kirkwall Hotel

Lynnfield Hotel

Retailer of the Year

Harray Potter

Sheila Fleet Jewellery

Andrea Holmes

Non-serviced Accomodation of the Year

Chalmersquoy Accommodation

Orkney Lux Lodges

Ayres Rock, Campsite

Best Welcome to Orkney

Harray Potter

Ship 2 Shore

Sea Kayak 59 Degrees North

Winners of the five award categories nominated by Destination Orkney members will be revealed on the night.

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