A major new awards scheme recognising excellence within Orkney’s tourism sector has been launched by Destination Orkney.
The Orkney Tourism Awards – hosted on the Orkney.com website – have been split into 13 different categories, covering 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.
Awards for green innovation and responsible tourism are also included, along with accolades for accommodation providers, retailers and employees.
Nominations and judging for some categories of awards – open to Destination Orkney member businesses only - will be member-nominated and judged by an expert local panel, with others based on the votes of local people and visitors to Orkney between January and October of this year.
A gala awards event is being planned for later in the year, along with a prize draw for members of the public who get involved and cast a vote.
Successful businesses will be presented with a special awards trophy and can highlight their achievement in promotional material and on their websites. In addition, 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: “Orkney’s tourism businesses work exceptionally hard delivering the best possible experience for visitors, so we feel it’s high time we formally recognise their efforts with a prestigious awards scheme.
“Just as the Taste of Orkney Awards have had a positive impact on businesses within the food and drink sector, we hope the tourism awards will be seen as an additional quality seal of approval for visitors travelling to the islands. We’re also delighted to welcome votes from local people who support many of our members’ businesses all year round.”
She added: “Some of our categories will be based on public voting, while others will be judged by expert tourism panels. This split has allowed us to add in extra specialist categories for the awards, while ensuring we get maximum public engagement. If you’re a visitor or a local customer who’s enjoyed your Orkney experience, then we’d urge you to cast your vote!”