Tourism company elects new chairman as five directors join the board
A new chairman and five new directors were elected at the annual meeting of an independent organisation that represents 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Mid Wales.
Rowland Rees-Evans, managing director of Penrhos Park at Llanrhystud, near Aberystwyth, steps up from vice chairman to take over the reins of MWT Cymru from Anne Lloyd-Jones, of Tywyn, who stood down after 15 years as chairman.
The new directors are Sharon Peake-Jones, co-owner of Pandy Isaf, Dolgellau, Meurig Jones, estate manager at Portmeirion Ltd, Portmeirion, Owen James, owner of holiday cottage 2, Mill Street, Crickhowell, Dylan Roberts, joint managing director of Salop Leisure who lives in Bow Street, Aberystwyth and Louise Lloyd, managing director of Harry’s Hotel, Aberystwyth.
They join Ian Rutherford, managing director of King Arthur’s Labyrinth, Corris Craft Centre and Corris Mine Explorers at Corris, near Machynlleth, Paul Boland, manager of Llanerchaeron, a National Trust property near Aberaeron, Neil Bale, of Cyfie Farm, Llanfihangel, near Llanfyllin.
Retiring from the board with Mrs Lloyd-Jones are Tony Bywater, chairman of Salop Leisure and William Moeran, general manager of the Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdyfi.
“I am really looking forward to the next few months working with the new board members,” Mr Rees-Evans told members meeting at Plas Talgarth Resort, Pennal, near Machynlleth. “We are here to help and learn from each other and to share good ideas.”
He emphasised the importance of digital technology to tourism businesses, as a growing number of customers now use mobile phones and tablets to search and book accommodation. “We have to be smart and engage with our customers or they will look elsewhere,” he said.
Brexit would create opportunities as well as challenges for tourism businesses and austerity measures would continue to take money out of the local economy, he added. However, with interest rates at a record low, in was an opportunity for business investment to raise quality standards.
He pledged to focus on growing MWT Cymru’s membership and to continue the company’s lobbying work to ensure that Assembly Members and MPs were updated on important tourism issues.
Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive, highlighted developments during the year and focused on plans for 2017. The Show Me Wales website had recently been updated and a new Visit Mid Wales website would be launched early in the new year with additional features and a wealth of destination information about the region.
The new year would see a drive to highlight the great value for money membership benefits, local member meetings and a review of the FairBooking Wales initiative.
“Our continual programme of investment in the latest digital marketing technology helps to attract visitors to the region and provides a showcase for our member businesses to gain and maintain competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Mrs Hawkins.
“As we approach our 26th year of trading, our primary focus is to assist members to meet future challenges and opportunities and to work in partnership with other tourism organisations to help develop the tourism economy of Mid Wales and beyond.
“Working together makes sense and I support collaboration between the private and public sectors. It is good for individual businesses and for the tourism industry as a whole.”
The five new directors of MWT Cymru (from left) Meurig Jones, Sharon Peake-Jones, Owen James, Louise Lloyd and Dylan Roberts.
New chairman Rowland Rees-Evans.