The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been rated Best Special Event in the UK for the third consecutive year, while the MacDonald Holyrood Hotel was rated Best Overall Hotel Accommodation in the UK.

Norton House Hotel and Spa and Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club both earned Hotels of Excellence Awards.

The Awards were given by Irish coach tour operator, CIE Tours International, which recognises the quality of the UK’s hotels and visitor attractions by giving an Award of Excellence to those who have received a greater than 90% customer satisfaction rating.

The Company gives special recognition to the best performing tourism provider in 11 categories and the Tattoo scooped the Best Special Event for the third time this year, meaning that it was judged best in the UK by the 15,000 visitors CIE brought to the UK in 2017.

MacDonald Holyrood Hotel was given the top award in the “Best Overall Hotel Accommodation” category.

CIE launched its UK awards five years ago, replicating its long-running awards in Ireland. Since then, the numbers of venues and attractions achieving a higher than 90% satisfaction rating in the UK has grown from 32 to 50. In 2017, the company enjoyed a 10% rise in visitors on their UK tours bringing 15,000 visitors to the UK. During the year, it’s tours visited 100 visitor attractions and 60 hotels across the UK, paying a total of £11 million to its UK suppliers, including buying around 150,000 bed nights.

An award ceremony was held at House for an Art Lover in Glasgow.

Elizabeth Crabill, Chief Executive, CIE Tours International commented: “The growth we are experiencing in the UK is fantastic and the level of customer satisfaction achieved by our suppliers plays a vital role in our success, which is why it is gratifying to recognise excellence in this, our fifth annual UK Awards. All of the recipients play a role in our growth by welcoming our visitors and ensuring that they have a memorable experience.”

We anticipate that demand for our UK tours will grow significantly in 2018, demonstrating the significance and growing appeal of Britain’s heritage and quality customer experience.”

“Our Awards are well recognised and hugely respected in Ireland,” continued Elizabeth Crabill, “and it is gratifying to see that the awards have been embraced so quickly in the UK. The increase in the number of awards reflects how providers have incorporated our quality focus and that overall quality levels are increasing. This is great for our customers and the overall industry. Our visitors from North America are accustomed to very high levels of service and to achieve a rating above 90% from our travellers is very meaningful.

“The rise in standards in only five years in our UK providers is remarkable and it proves that people’s efforts in striving for high standards pays off.”

CIE Tours International is Ireland’s leading inbound tour operator, having brought more than three million visitors from North America to tour Ireland over the course of its 86-year history.

In recent years, CIE has expanded its offering to include Scotland and the rest of the UK as a highlighted destination. Several new tours are being introduced in 2018, including one featuring the Outer Hebrides and Gaelic West, a new UK family tour and a new luxury Scotland tour.

Lord Thurso, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The United States is hugely important to Scottish tourism, so it’s fantastic to see Scotland responsible for such spectacular growth. Not only are our American visitors fascinated by our history and culture, they have also fallen in love with our breathtaking, timeless landscapes.

“The Outlander effect has played a significant part in helping attract visitors from the US, taking the country by storm since the release of the popular TV series.

“VisitScotland has capitalised on this growing interest in Scotland with increased marketing activity and forging innovative and pioneering strategic partnerships with companies, such as TripAdvisor.

“With more direct flights between America and Scotland than ever, there is no better time for US visitors to come here. This opens up a lucrative market for Scottish tourism, which is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy. It causes a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth.”

CIE Tours International was named Scotland’s Heritage International Operator of the Year 2017.

The CIE Awards are made on the eve of VisitScotland Expo 2018, Scotland’s premier business to business travel trade event, which takes place at the SEC in Glasgow on 11th-12th April.