Almost 400 applications were received and 53 organisations made it to last tonight’s final competing for 16 awards which were up for grabs. The winners were announced by TV presenter, Sarra Elgan.
The Grove, Narberth Pembrokeshire which opened in 2009, was named the winner in the Best Place to Stay category (large). And in the hotly contested Small Best Place to stay category, Dolgellau boutique B&B, Ffynnon was the winner, with sister Debra Harris winning out to little brother Gavin Harris, owner of manorhaus, Rhuthin also a finalist in the same category.
Yr Helyg – The Willows Touring and Camping Park, Abersoch was named as the Best Caravan and Camping Park. Clydey Cottages, near Boncath, Pembrokeshire were named Best Self Catering Place to Stay (Large) while Monmouthshire Cottages – Tintern Abbey was the winner of the Small Self Catering Best Place to Stay.
Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival, Vale of Glamorgan was the winner of Best Community Event, which has been a firm fixture in the town’s calendar since the first event in 2004 as part of the town’s 750 year celebrations. Now in its 23rd year and previously hosting the likes of US President Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Hay Festival was named the Best Large event.
Winner of the Best Family Day Out and praised for being excellent value for money for families with children of all ages was Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire and it was a successful night for the attraction as they also picked up the award for Digital Marketing.
Afan Lodge a newly built hotel within its own grounds in the Afan Argoed Country Park, Port Talbot was the winner of the Best New Business award. Judges believed that the hotel has pitched itself perfectly for the mountain bike market and the owners’ enthusiasm was described as ‘infectious’.
Pulling together successfully are the team at The Hilton Cardiff who won the Best Team award. There was another win for Cardiff as the Best Visitor Experience award went to Cardiff International White Water. Call of the Wild, Brecon Beacons can now add the Business Tourism award to their long list of accolades and were praised for their innovative ideas and excellent use of customer feedback to improve the business.
The West Wales Tourism Associations won the Best Partnership award, the first time for the award to be introduced, for their excellent work on behalf of tourism businesses in Wales.
Big Pit, Blaenafon was the winner of the Sense of Place award for providing the visitor with an experience that is both memorable and steeped in sense of place.
For tourism to be sustainable it must ensure that the long-term needs of communities, visitors and the environment are taken into account. For demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, Wern Growth Services Ltd, owned by Andrew Fryer, was named the winner of the sustainable tourism award, for the 5 star Bunkhouse, Wern Watkin in Llangattaock, near Crickhowell.
The final award of the evening was for an Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Industry in Wales. This special award was presented to Julian Burrell OBE who has significantly contributed to making the Welsh tourism industry a world class leader able to compete in a highly competitive world market and has recently stepped down from his role as the chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance.
Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said:
“With record entries for this year’s awards, the winners of each category can be very proud of their achievement. Being named the best in Wales is no mean feat. The dedication that these businesses show to quality and redeveloping their product to meet with consumers needs in a difficult economic climate is to be applauded.
“The awards evening demonstrates the importance of Wales’ £4 billion tourism industry to the Welsh economy and the quality of product that we have to offer our visitors. I’d like to offer my congratulations to all of tonight’s winners.”
A number of businesses have come on board as sponsors for this year’s awards including Visit Britain, Wales the True Taste, Vale Resort, Carbon Trust, Capital Region Tourism, Tourism Partnership Mid Wales, Tourism Partnership North Wales, South West Wales Tourism Partnership, Millennium Stadium, UWIC, Cadw, Wales Tourism Alliance, Careers Wales, Fine Wines Direct and Gower Cottage Brownies.
Photo © Visit Wales