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The best of Mid Wales tourism industry celebrated at inaugural awards

The stars of the Mid Wales tourism and hospitality industry shone brightly as businesses, organisations and individuals were recognised at the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards last week (Thursday, 17th October).

Designed to celebrate and showcase the region’s exceptional tourism industry, the biennial awards brought together 42 finalists in 13 categories for a glittering ceremony at The Hafren, Newtown. Compere for the evening was Welsh tourism personality Jonathan Jones, CBE.

The awards are organised by MWT Cymru with support from Mid Wales Tourism Forum, a public and sector partnership and Visit Wales, the Welsh Government’s tourism arm. A dedicated Tourism Awards Advisory Group was established specifically to assist with the awards.

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The winners included Corris Mine Explorers, Corris, who collected the Best Activity / Experience Award, Dan-Yr-Ogof National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercraf, who added the Best Visitor Attraction Award, sponsored by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, to its list of honours, Wonderwool Wales, Builth Wells, who secured the Best Event Award and Ty Cwch, Cwmtydu, near Llandysul , who received the Tourism Innovation Award, sponsored by Cambrian Training. 

The Best Hotel Award went to the Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdyfi, Gwesty Cymru, Aberystwyth collected the Best Guest Accommodation Award, Mid Wales Holiday Lets, Rhayader celebrated winning the Best Self Catering/ Self Contained Accommodation Award, The Nags Head, Garthmyl was judged the Best Place to Eat or Drink and Fforest Fields, Hundred House, near Llandrindod Wells won the Best Holiday / Camping / Touring Park Award, sponsored by Salop Leisure.

All these award winners will now represent Mid Wales at the Wales National Tourism Awards in March 2020.

Other winners who enjoyed their moment in the spotlight were The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, which received the Best Accommodation For Groups Award, Canvas & Campfires, ​Lampeter, which was judged the Best Glamping/ Quirky Accommodation and The Centre for Alternative Technology, near Machynlleth which collected the Best Third Sector Award.

The evening began with the popular presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Pam Powell from Rhayader, who is approaching her 95th birthday, for her considerable contribution to the tourism industry in Mid Wales spanning many decades.

At the other end of the scale, a Young Tourism Person of the Year Award, supported by Grŵp Colegau NPTC Group of Colleges, was designed for people starting out in the industry.

The winner from six shortlisted finalists was Amy Clark, manager of The Nags Head, Garthmyl, near Montgomery. The award is designed to recognise young entrepreneurial, professional and business talents aged 30 years and under.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “These awards are all about recognising and rewarding excellence and celebrating quality of standards and experiences. These are important attributes for any tourism business and gives our visitors reasons to visit and return to Wales on holiday.

“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all winners and finalists for their commitment to quality and for their contribution to the visitor economy and in making Wales such a world class visitor destination. Da iawn bawb – Llongyfarchiadau.”

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Steve Hughson, Mid Wales Tourism Forum chair, said: “I am delighted with the strength of entries across all categories in tonight’s Mid Wales Tourism Awards. The quality of what Mid Wales has to offer is clear and we must seize every opportunity to improve the region’s economy. Tourism will play a major part in that.

“I would like to wish all of our regional winners every success in the National Tourism awards.”

MWT Cymru’s chief executive Val Hawkins congratulated the winners and finalists and thanked all the businesses and individuals who had entered the inaugural awards, which she said were a great showcase for Mid Wales region.

“We were delighted with the fantastic response to the awards, having received more than 130 entries from across Mid Wales,” she added. “The quality of entries was excellent, underlining the high standards that we are achieving in Mid Wales tourism industry.”

The other finalists were: Best Hotel: Portmeirion Hotel and The Dragon Hotel, Montgomery. Best Guest Accommodation: The Royston, ​Llanbrynmair and The Nags Head, ​Garthmyl. Best self-catering accommodation: Trefeddian (Self Catering), Aberdovey and Tanyresgair Cottages, Aberystwyth.

Best Glamping or Quirky Accommodation: [email protected] Cottage, Lampeter and Upper Gelli, Welshpool. Best Camping, Touring, Holiday Park or Holiday Home Park: Islawrffordd Caravan Park, ​Talybont, Barmouth and Maesmawr Farm Resort, Caersws.

Best for Groups: Plas Dinam Country House, ​Llandinam and Tynrhyd Retreat, ​Aberystwyth. Best Place to Eat or Drink: The Granary, ​Newtown and Y Crochan Cafe, Corris.

Best Activity or Experience: Falconry Experience Wales, Machynlleth and Epic Fishing Ltd, ​New Quay. Best Visitor Attraction, supported by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society: King Arthurs Labyrinth, ​Corris and Talyllyn Railway, Tywyn. Best event: Welshpool 1940s Weekend and Glanusk Estate Fayre, Crickhowell.

Best Third Sector, supported by Social Business Wales: Crickhowell Resource & Information Centre, ​Crickhowell and RSPB Ynys-hir, Machynlleth. Tourism Innovation Award, supported by Cambrian Training: moduLog Glamping Pods & Cabins, Builth Wells and West Wales Holiday Cottages, Aberporth.

Young Tourism Person of the Year, supported by Grŵp Colegau NPTC Group of Colleges: Hannah Quincey, King Arthurs Labyrinth, Corris; Amy Williams, West Wales Holiday Cottages, Aberporth; Alice Yeoman, NPTC Group of Colleges and Geraint Morris and Ash Cooperwhite, both from The Granary, Newtown.

Granted an Awards Trust Mark by the Independent Awards Standards Council, the awards were open to all businesses, organisations and individuals who contribute to tourism within Mid Wales.

The sponsors were Cambrian Training, Grŵp Colegau NPTC Group of Colleges, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, Busnes Cymdeithasol Cymru/ Social Business Wales, Cambrian News, County Times and Express and Gazette, Mid Wales Journal and NFU Mutual.

MWT Cymru is the regional destination marketing and membership organisation for Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd district of Southern Snowdonia. As a not-for-profit social enterprise company, MWT Cymru supports and represents more than 550 tourism businesses and organisations across the region.

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