The stars of Pembrokeshire’s tourism industry shone through at last weekend’s prestigious tourism awards which were held at Haverfordwest’s showground.Following a welcome from Andrew Campbell, Vice Chair of Pembrokeshire Tourism, Clare Stowell, Property and Tourism Director of the awards main sponsor, Milford Waterfront, gave an update on the development plans which will transform Milford Haven’s marina and docks area into a vibrant tourism destination for locals and visitors. The regeneration will add to the existing mix of leisure, retail and dining businesses and will celebrate arts, culture and heritage, with the aim of boosting the local economy by providing opportunities for long-term, sustainable jobs.
This year’s awards were hosted by well-known travel writer Zoe Dawes – The Quirky Traveller who, when not sitting on an aeroplane can be seen on BBC’s Breakfast TV as one of their chosen travel experts sharing opinion and observations on British and International travel. Zoe was joined on stage for the evening by Adrian Greason-Walker from the Wales Tourism Alliance who were one of the event sponsors.
Zoe commented “What a splendid night. I was so impressed with the quality of the finalists. Pembrokeshire has some world class attractions and tourism businesses and it was a pleasure to host the evening; everyone was very welcoming and it’s certainly given me lots of reasons to come back to this beautiful and intriguing part of the British Isles”
The high quality of the entrants this year meant once again that there was very little to choose between the finalists in each of the 15 categories and as each of the categories were announced, hope and anticipation increased in the room.
Former hotelier and WTA Chair, Chris Osborne received a special award for his outstanding contribution to tourism. Dennis O’Connor; Tourism Liaison Manager said: “The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award is given to those whose work has made a significant difference to what Pembrokeshire has to offer visitors. In Chris’ case, his contribution to tourism over a period of 40 plus years has benefited not only Pembrokeshire but the Welsh tourism industry as a whole so we are particularly delighted to recognise him with this award”.
Each of the winners received a specially commissioned award made by sculptor Neil Machin of Begelly House Wood Carving Studio. The striking award, made from a combination of stone and wood was inspired by the Visit Wales Year of the Sea and was designed using stone to depict the rocky coast and rippled wood for the shoreline.
Speaking after the awards Destination Director Neil Jenkins said “Milford Waterfront are delighted to support the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards. It was a fantastic event that celebrated the excellent tourism opportunities that exist here in Pembrokeshire. Our own development at Milford Waterfront is gaining momentum and our aim is to deliver a destination that complements the businesses which were selected as finalists at the awards, adding another high quality attraction that Pembrokeshire can be proud of. We have our tourism team in place led by Clare Stowell and they are looking forward to getting to know the individuals involved in the tourism industry and to collaborating to raise the profile of Pembrokeshire’s outstanding opportunities.”
The full list of category winners are: