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LLS Wins Thistle Award

Europe's first city centre seaplane service honoured with Scottish Thistle Award, the "Oscars of the Scottish tourism industry"

The pioneering spirit of Europe’s first city centre seaplane service has been honoured with a Scottish Thistle Award - the Oscars of the tourism industry.

Loch Lomond Seaplanes won the coveted Innovation Award in the wake of the introduction of their new service from the River Clyde to Oban, gateway to the Western isles.

Over the last three years the company has been instrumental in re-establishing the seaplane as a commercially viable and sustainable form of transport for Scotland, requiring nominal infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of new runways or airports and creating minimal impact on the environment.

Oban is the first of many new destinations planned to reduce travelling time between the central belt and some of the more remote Highland communities to minutes rather than hours.

The company, which has been successfully operating charter flights out of Loch Lomond for the last three years, has worked closely with Glasgow City Council, the Civil Aviation Authority, Glasgow Science Centre and the Clyde Port Authority to establish the new service which is unique in Europe.

"Winning the Thistle Award for Innovation is a great honour for us. Scots have been crying out for improved transport links suited to the type of communities and terrain particular to many parts of this wonderful country.

"We had the vision to launch the seaplane service and this award is recognition that we were right.

"The seaplane is more than a mode of transport; it is a unique experience with enormous potential to open up Scotland like never before. We are delighted to have won the Thistle Award for Innovation."

A total of 35 top tourism businesses made it through to the finals of this year’s prestigious VisitScotland Scottish Thistle Awards which celebrate quality and innovation. "These awards recognise people who are delivering the very best of Scottish hospitality,” said Tourism Minister Jim Mather.

"The Scottish Thistle Awards are yet another reminder of the skills, talent and drive shown by our tourism industry.  The Scottish government is determined to work with the industry to build on our successes, boost tourism figures and increase sustainable economic growth."

More than 200 entries were received for this year’s Awards, which have been going for 16 years and are open to all businesses operating in Scotland ’s tourism industry. The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony in Edinburgh on the October 26, 2007.

"We are in one of the most competitive industries in the world and we know that it’s the little things we do which will make the difference and keep visitors coming back to Scotland for more," said Philip Riddle, Chief Executive of Visit Scotland.

“The Scottish Thistle Awards recognise small and large businesses across the country which go that extra mile to drive up quality and make a holiday in Scotland unforgettable.”

Date :2007