Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway has won a top tourism award at the Central South East regional finals of the Scottish Thistle Awards.
During a ceremony held at the Royal College of Physicians the Bo’ness outfit was named best visitor attraction beating off stiff competition from The Real Mary King’s Close and St Andrew’s Aquarium.
Amanda Kilburn, Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway business development firector, said : “We are delighted to win our Scottish Thistle Awards Regional Final.
‘‘We’ve been a visitor attraction for over 30 years but have never stopped evolving to suit the needs of an ever-changing tourism industry.
‘‘Our staff, 99 per of whom are volunteers, have put their passion in to creating something really special that can be enjoyed by the thousands of families of all age groups who visit every year and this recognition of their hard work will mean so much to them.”
The heritage railway is operated by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society.
The attraction will now go on to fly the flag for the Central South East region at the national Scottish Thistle Award final in March 2015.
Stephen Carter, VisitScotland board member and chairman of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said: “The calibre of entries to this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards has been outstanding and on behalf of the panel I want to congratulate all those shortlisted for today’s ceremony, particularly our winners.
“2014 has been an exceptional year for Scottish tourism with the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and Year of Homecoming.
‘‘We must now use the success of this year as a launchpad for tourism.
‘‘The people and businesses represented here today will play a key part in helping ensure Scotland’s tourism industry continues to thrive and that visitors, old and new, keep coming to Scotland.”
A total of 670 businesses were nominated for Scottish Thistle Awards in 2014 with 555 businesses entering the regional heats.
A panel, comprising of some of the most senior figures in Scottish tourism as well as tourism ambassadors such as Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart, television presenter Kaye Adams and the man behind T in the Park, Geoff Ellis, were responsible for determining the winners in each category.