This award is open to projects designed to increase the visitor's understanding, knowledge and enjoyment of an area, be it through a product, service or the area itself and designed to encourage the visitor to spend more, stay longer and return.
Just under 15 000 visitors attended the triple World Cup event at Fort William over three days in June. There were 432 competitors from 32 countries and 187 journos and snappers from 13 countries. The event is estimated to have generated £750k for the local economy.
Mike Jardine of event organisers Rare Management said:
"The hosting of the Mountain Bike World Cup has had a significant impact on Lochaber and
it's gratifying that the Scottish Thistle Awards recognise this."
Created by VisitScotland and now in their twelfth year, the Scottish Thistle Awards are spread over 14 categories, such as training, marketing initiatives, business tourism, environmental campaigns, information technology and travel journalism.
In 2002, its inaugural year, the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup won the international award for best Mountain Bike World Cup in 2002, the winner being selected by competitors, teams and media who had attended events in Canada, France, Slovenia and the US.
Fort William has already been selected to host a round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on 5-6th June 2004.
The winners of the Scottish Thistle Awards 2003 will be announced on 24th October.