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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK
Tourist firms contest awards
The Celtic Manor Resort
The Celtic Manor boosted Welsh tourism in 2001
Welsh tourism operators are hoping for recognition at the annual Wales Tourist Awards ceremony on Thursday.

After a difficult year for the industry, the event in Ewloe, north Wales, is seen as a way of rewarding excellence and raising standards.

If Welsh tourism is to thrive, it must work to upgrade its facilities and drive efforts to create more world-class attractions

Wales Tourist Board Chairman Philip Evans

The industry is one of Wales's biggest earners, contributing 2bn a year to the economy and employing 100,000 people.

Nearly 40 businesses are contesting the 12 award categories, which focus on all aspects of tourism including accommodation, food and entertainment.

The finalists range from small country cottages to major festivals, such as the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Cardiff.

Bryn Terfel's Faenol music festival in north Wales is a contender for the Greatest Show in Wales award.

Community spirit

Another finalist is Kevin Jones, a guest house owner from Betws-y-Coed, north Wales, who persuaded all 70 tourist-related businesses in the village to set up their own websites.

The community of Llanwrtyd Wells, mid Wales, is also recognised for generating 7m by organising events such as the World Bog Snorkelling Championships and the Man Against Horse Race.

Two new categories have also been added to this year's awards.

Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel's festival has been nominated

The Sense of Place award is aimed at the business which best communicates to visitors they are enjoying a holiday in Wales.

And the Wales in Print Award will be presented to the writer or feature which best evokes the spirit of Wales, its people and its culture.

Organisers are hoping the ceremony will encourage tourism operators to upgrade facilities and help create more world class attractions in Wales, such as the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport which will host golf's Ryder Cup.

Philip Evans, Wales Tourist Board Chairman, said:."If Welsh tourism is to thrive and take our industry into the top league, it must work to upgrade its facilities, directing and driving efforts to create more world-class attractions.

"The tourist awards are designed to show that Wales can offer the same standards of hospitality, visitor attractions, leisure and sporting facilities that are expected in the most sought-after holiday locations."

BBC Wales's Nick Palit
"The awards are seen as a way of rewarding excellence"
See also:

23 Jan 02 | Business
UK bids to woo back tourists
18 Sep 01 | Business
What now for tourism?
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