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Friday, November 24, 2023

Railway and two others from Llan scoop top tourism awards

* From left, Jonathan Seldon of the sponsors, Tom Taylor, General Manager of Llangollen Railway, Phil Coles, Chairman, and Oliver Seldon. Pictures by Jane Widdowson.

Volunteers at Llangollen Railway have been hailed as tourism heroes after coming back from the brink of collapse.

The heritage attraction was  among the big winners at the prestigious Go North Wales Tourism Awards last night (Thursday).

On the night two other Llangollen businesses were also in the honours - Bearded Men Adventures and Riversdale House B&B.

The glittering annual event organised by North Wales Tourism celebrates the dedication, skill and achievements of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.

This year the ceremony at Venue Cymru in Llandudno was hosted by ITV Wales journalist Carole Green and the headline sponsor once again was Harlech Foodservice which supplies many of the region’s hotels, guest houses and restaurants.

Llangollen Railway was named Go Attraction of the Year after staging a remarkable comeback.

The railway is now back on track after mounting debts caused by Covid disruptions forced its operating arm into receivership.

It steamed forward thanks to the dedication of the volunteers of the Llangollen Railways Trust who took over the railway’s operation.

Earlier this year the organisation achieved a long-held ambition to open the new £1.25 million station in Corwen, enabling passenger-carrying trains to return to the Denbighshire town first time in four years.

Llangollen Railway Chair Phil Coles said: “It’s been a lot of very hard work over two and a half years with an awful lot of input from visitors and staff.

“Very many people have gone over and above in their dedication to the railway and this award is the icing on the cake for us after going bust in the pandemic.”

Tom Taylor, General Manager, added: “We had to work with the rest of the tourism industry just to survive but we have taken the railway out to Corwen now and we’re already making a big difference to the town there.

“We’re looking towards National Park status now and we need to be a really polished product.

“We need to stabilise, recover and build for the future and the staff have been key to that and this award is for them.”

At the same ceremony the Go Marketing and Media Recognition Award 2023 sponsored by  Heart North and Mid Wales was won by Bearded Men Adventures of Llangollen.

Go B&B/Inn and Guest House of the Year 2023 sponsored by  Aber Falls Distillery was won by Riversdale House, Llangollen.

* Carole Green, from ITV Wales, who hosted the awards ceremony.

Jim Jones, the Chief Executive of North Wales Tourism, said: “We are grateful to Harlech Foodservice and all our other sponsors for stepping up to the plate to support the Go North Wales Tourism Awards.

“Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate the best of best in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“The sheer volume and quality of entries this year has underlined why North Wales is a truly world class destination.

“I would like to congratulate all the winners but I would also like to stress that all the nominees are playing a vital role in championing what we have to offer visitors from home and abroad. They do an exceptional job in putting North Wales on the map.

“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.”

David Cattrall, the Managing Director of Harlech Foodservice, said: “We are delighted to once again be the headline sponsor of this wonderful awards ceremony and it’s very much a vote of confidence in the tourism and hospitality sector which has endured such a difficult time in recent years.

“This is our opportunity to give something back and celebrate the achievements of our core customers.

“That’s also why we have launched our new Trust Our Prices campaign with over 300 popular lines having their prices cut and frozen until January 1.

“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.”

Winners at the Go North Wales Tourism Awards 

Go Large Hotel of the Year 2023 sponsored by Castell Howell Foods Ltd and won by Rossett Hall Hotel, Wrexham 

Go Small Hotel of the Year 2023 sponsored by Carbon Zero Renewables and won by Plas Dinas Country House Hotel, Bontnewydd 

Go Self Catering of the Year 2023 sponsored by  Pario Leisure Group and won by

The Rocks at Plas Curig, Capel Curig, Betws y Coed 

Go Glamping, Camping, Caravanning and Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by  GreenWood Family Park and won by Tan y Bryn Glamping & Touring, Llandudno Junction

Go Attraction of the Year 2023 sponsored by SF Parks and won by Llangollen Railway

Go Experience of the Year 2023 sponsored by Snowdonia Hospitality & Leisure Ltd and won by Go Below Underground Adventures 

Go Best Event of the Year 2023 sponsored by Penderyn Distillery, Llandudno, and won by Always Aim High Events, Llangefni 

Go Eating Out Experience of the Year 2023 sponsored by Office Equipment Systems Ltd and won by The Lemon Tree, Wrexham 

Go Tourism Supplier of the Year 2023 sponsored by and won by Parisella’s Ice Cream, Conwy 

Go Young Person in Tourism & Hospitality Award 2023 sponsored by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and won by  Megan Harris, Abergele Golf Club 

Go Skills Enhancement in Tourism & Hospitality Award 2023 sponsored by Wales Ambassador Scheme and won by  Rhian Jones, Conwy Tour Guide 

Go New Tourism Business of the Year 2023 sponsored by  Thornley Leisure Parks and won by Tree Tops and Train Tracks, Mold 

Go Cruise North Wales sponsored by Cruise Wales and won by Wales Best Guides 

Go Pet Friendly Award 2023 sponsored by Travel Chapter and won by Rivercatcher, Corwen 

Go Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Award 2023 sponsored by Development Bank of Wales and won by Llandudno Bay Hotel 

Go Resilience and Innovation Award 2023 sponsored by  Plas Dinas Country House Hotel and won by Go Below Underground Adventures 

Go North Wales Service to Tourism Award 2023 sponsored by  Tir Prince Leisure Group Llandudno Pier Trading and won by Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay 


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