Tourism heroes take centre stage

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    The heroes of the tourism and hospitality industry in North Wales are to be honoured for their “grit and determination” in surviving the pandemic.

    The judges have announced the finalists who will take centre stage at prestigious Go North Wales Tourism Awards at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Thursday, November 25.

    The businesses on the shortlist come from across the region and include Anglesey Sea Zoo, Llechwedd Glamping in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llandudno Hostel, Manorafon Farm Park in Abergele, the West Arms in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog and the Three Eagles Bar and Grill in Llangollen.

    In recognition of the trials and tribulations of the past 18 months, there is also a special new category for resilience and innovation and the shortlisted finalists are the Marine Holiday Park in Rhyl, St David’s Hospice in Llandudno and Llandudno Hostel.

    According to David Cattrall, the managing director of the event’s headline sponsor, Harlech Foodservice, the sector’s indomitable spirit will ensure it thrives in future.

    The leading food distribution firm, who have bases in Criccieth and Chester, are also sponsoring the Go Caravan, Camping or Glamping of the Year Award and the Go Taste of North Wales Award via the company’s Bwydlyn Butchery which champions premium Welsh meat products.

    The awards are returning after an absence of a year because of the Coronavirus crisis and will be hosted by acclaimed BBC journalist Sian Lloyd, who hails from Wrexham.

    Organisers North Wales Tourism, who represent around 2,000 tourism and hospitality related companies, were due to celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2020 and they are hoping to make up for lost time with guests wearing 1990s garb to mark the occasion.

    The tourism and hospitality industry in North Wales was flying until the pandemic struck, with annual visitor numbers rocketing to a record 37 million and income reaching an all-time high of £3.2 million.

    Pre-pandemic, the sector employed more than 43,000 people and provided one in every seven jobs in the region.

    But everything ground to a halt with the imposition of the first lockdown but this summer’s staycation boom proved the appetite to visit North Wales is undiminished.

    According to David Cattrall, the scale of investment being pumped into the region was another reason to be optimistic about the future of the sector.

    Big ticket items included the £35 million redevelopment of Theatr Clwyd in Mold, the planned £100 million waterfront scheme in Holyhead and the £12 million scheme to redevelop the Waterloo Hotel in Betws y Coed.

    Mr Cattrall said: “Our sponsorship of the Go North Wales Awards is very much a vote of confidence in the tourism and hospitality sector which has endured such a horrendous time.

    “The evening will be celebrating the achievements of our core customers, so we see this as an opportunity to give something back.

    “The sector was among the hardest hit by the pandemic so it’s great to be able to have some positivity once again.

    “It’s been a really tough, tough 18 months and I think everybody is looking forward to have a good time and let their hair down.

    “The scale of the investment into our tourism and hospitality infrastructure is a clear sign that in the longer term things are looking very good for the future.

    “The fundamental reasons why North Wales is such an attractive place to visit are still there and will continue to be in demand in future.

    “We have amazing scenery and world class facilities so I am sure the sector will go from strength to strength.

    “That means that the tourism and hospitality sector can play a big role in leading the economic recovery in North Wales.”

    Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said: “We are hugely grateful to Harlech Foodservice for stepping up to the plate as our headline sponsor and for also sponsoring two of the 15 individual categories up for grabs.

    “Their support is helping us instill some positivity into the industry because we do need to do something to get away from the doom and gloom of the past 18 months.

    “We’re determined first and foremost to recognise all the hard work, the sacrifices, the resilience and the innovation our members have shown,

    “This is an opportunity to celebrate a dynamic tourism destination that showcases the best of what we have to offer to the rest of the world.

    “The tourism and hospitality sector makes a huge, huge contribution to the North Wales economy and more than 43,000 people depend on it for their livelihoods.

    “For me, the priority now is to try to get back up to where we were in 2019 and to increase the spend of the visitors who come here by raising the quality of what we are doing.

    “We need to do far more than we’ve done in order to attract the international market because they’re the big spenders.

    “We are probably 85 per cent dependent on the domestic market, which is great, but we also need to sell ourselves to the world.

    “The grit and determination shown during the pandemic by the incredible people working in the sector will ensure the industry makes the mother of all comebacks and thrives in future.”

    Shortlisted finalists

    Go Caravan, Camping or Glamping of the Year sponsored by Harlech Food Service

    • Llanfair Hall
    • Llechwedd Glamping
    • Tree Tops Caravan Park
    • Graig Wen

    Go Best B&B/Inn of the Year sponsored by Colliers Hotels

    • The West Arms Country Inn
    • Min y Don Guest House
    • Plas Tan-Yr-Allt Historic Country House
    • Plas Weunydd

    Go Self Catering of the Year sponsored by Pario Leisure Group

    • Forest Holidays Beddgelert
    • Lyons Pendyffryn Hall
    • Swn-y-Dwr Holiday Cottage

    Go Holiday Park of the year sponsored by Thornley Leisure Parks

    • Tanrallt Holiday Park
    • Lyons Holiday Park
    • Marine Holiday Park

    Go Pet Friendly Award sponsored by Pero Foods Ltd

    • Plas Weunydd/Llechwedd Glamping
    • Forest Holidays Beddgelert
    • Y Shed

    Go Hotel of the Year sponsored by Castell Howell Foods Ltd

    • Chateau Rhianfa
    • Lawton & Lauriston Court Hotel
    • Royal Oak Hotel
    • Plas Dinas Country House

    Go Responsible and Sustainable Green Award sponsored by Adventure Parc Snowdonia

    • Bert’s Kitchen Garden
    • Anglesey Sea Zoo
    • Forest Holidays Beddgelert
    • GreenWood Family Park

    Go Business Events and Incentive Travel Award sponsored by Heart North Wales

    • Bespoke Fitness & Events
    • Lyons Robin Hood
    • Venue Cymru

    Go Attraction of the Year sponsored by Development Bank of Wales

    • Welsh Mountain Zoo
    • Bodnant Garden National Trust
    • Penderyn Lloyd St Distillery
    • Manorafon Farm Park

    Go Activity of the Year sponsored by Design 2 Print

    • Beics Betws
    • Mynydd Sleddog Adventures
    • Scuba Escape
    • Whitewater Active

    Go Taste of North Wales Award sponsored by Bwydlyn Butchery

    • Jaspels Cider
    • The Gunroom Restaurant at Plas Dinas Country House
    • Three Eagles Bar & Grill

    Go Resilience and Innovation Award sponsored by North Wales Live

    • Marine Holiday Park
    • Llandudno Hostel
    • St Davids Hospice

    Go Tourism & Hospitality Hero sponsored by Aber Falls Distillery

    • Glenn Evans – Royal Oak Hotel
    • Luke Morris – Lawton & Lauriston Court Hotel
    • Tom Dunn – Commonwood Fishery

    Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award sponsored by Grwp Llandrillo Menai

    • The Mounds Family – Lyons Holiday Park
    • Michael Bewick – JW Greaves
    • Welsh Mountain Zoo

    Go 30 years of the Tourism Industry sponsored by Tir Prince Leisure Group

    • To be announced at the Awards Dinner