Wales welcomed some of the most influential people from travel industry last weekend as The Guardian News and Media’s prestigious Guardian and Observer Travel Awards took place in Cardiff,7-10 October. It was the first time the awards have been hosted in Wales, previous locations have been Bangkok, Cape Town and Seville. The Welsh Assembly Government’s Visit Wales’ bid to host the Awards beat those from other world tourist destinations.
Around 100 travel trade delegates arrived in Cardiff and were officially welcomed to Wales by the Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones during a reception at the Senedd. Visit Wales organised a programme of events and experiences, working with the Guardian to ensure that delegates experienced a taste of Wales and what it has to offer as a tourism destination.
On Friday, the delegates had the opportunity to explore a little further afield and take part in activities which included activity visits to Margam Park and Afan Forest; a visit to Laugharne to discover Dylan Thomas; a food tour of the Valleys and a Golf Day at the Vale Resort. On Saturday, delegates took part in tours of Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre and new BBC Studios currently under construction, the National Museum, and the recently opened purpose built White Water Rafting Centre before the awards took place in the evening at Cardiff Castle hosted by Huw Edwards.
Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said: "We are delighted that the Guardian chose Cardiff as the venue for their Travel Awards – it recognises Wales as a world-class destination and builds on our growing reputation as both a great place to hold events and to visit.
"Tourism is big business for Wales. It contributes around £3.5 billion a year to the economy and employs up to 100,000 people at the peak of the season.
"We want tourism to make an even bigger contribution to the Welsh economy and events such as this provide us with a platform to achieve this. They challenge perceptions and show what we can offer - a country that both respects and celebrates its past, yet looks to the future, providing fresh and innovative venues and services for our visitors. I hope that many of our guests will be impressed by their experience and will want to work with us to include Wales in their itineraries and brochures in the future. "