Panda given award for services to Scottish tourism

ONE of the two Edinburgh zoo pandas has been presented with an award - for services to Scottish tourism.

Mike Cantlay, chair of VisitScotland, presented the award as it emerged more than 500,000 visitors have seen the pandas since they arrived in Edinburgh from China last December.

The tourism body, which is hosting its annual Scottish Thistle Awards ceremony in Glasgow next month, commissioned a one-off award for Tian Tian “to celebrate the achievements of the pandas.”

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Last year Tian Tian was named was named one of the BBC’s female “faces of the year.”

A special ceremony was held at Edinburgh Zoo, where other finalists in the awards at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum were also invited to a pre-awards reception.

Mr Cantlay said: “Since Tian Tian and Yang Guang’s arrival last year, they have put one of Scotland’s best-known visitor attractions on the world map and shown excellence in tourism, which is what the Scottish Thistle Awards are all about - so it’s only right that we came here to honour their achievements.”

Chris West, chief executive of the zoo, said: “It’s a great privilege that our giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, have been chosen as the recipients of an honorary thistle award.

“It’s a real accolade and we’re delighted to accept the award on behalf of Tian Tian and Yang Guang. It’s made even more special by the fact that it’s made from bamboo – what more could our pandas ask for!”