AN AYRSHIRE travel agency has been hailed as the best in Scotland.

Thorne Travel were claimed the accolade at the Travel Trade Gazette Top 50 Travel Agencies awards held in Manchester on Thursday, April 25.

The annual award is voted for by holiday companies, airlines and tourist boards and recognises the professionalism, customer service, marketing and sales by travel agencies around the UK.

The Ayrshire-based business, which operates shops in Kilwinning, Largs and Prestwick, claimed the top prize for the nation beating out stiff competition to do so.

They were selected from a shortlist which covered the length of the country with fellow nominees being Annan Travel, Barrhead Travel in Falkirk, Barrhead Travel in Glasgow's Gordon Street and Inverness-based Murray Travel.

The award has delighted the Thorne Travel team, who thanked all those who made it possible.

A spokesperson said: "We are delighted to announce that Thorne Travel has been named as Scotland's top travel agency for the fifth time.

"A massive thank you goes to all of our customers and suppliers for your continued support, it really means the world to us!

"This is a great honour for us as a team and we will be celebrating in style very soon.

"Our congratulations goes to the other finalists."

And there was further reason to celebrate during the glittering awards ceremony, with business founder and chief executive Shona Thorne who presented with the prestigious 'contribution to travel' award.

The accolade recognises individuals in the sector for their outstanding and sustained contributions, not only to their own business but also to the broader travel agent community.

The delighted Thorne team back home shared their further joy on behalf of Shona who they congratulated on her success.

They said: "With a travel industry career spanning more years than she cares to remember, Thorne made the decision to start her own travel agency almost 16 years ago and rapidly turned this solo endeavour into a successful business with three travel stores.

"Her accomplishments include receiving a Scottish Business Woman of the Year award last year, recognising her business acumen, dedication to supporting local businesses, commitment to creating employment opportunities as well as her charitable work.

"Additionally, Thorne Travel has secured the coveted title of Scotland’s Top Travel Agency on no less than five occasions under her leadership.

"Upon receiving the award, Shona expressed her gratitude to the industry which she loves and attributed the success to her dedicated team, emphasising their role in providing high-quality holidays at competitive prices and above all always putting their customers first.

"Congratulations Shona from all the team."