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Regional Tourism Awards winners annnounced

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Blazing a trail: Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire

THE NAMES of the Regional Winners for the National Tourism Awards for Wales have been revealed.

Having received more than 400 nominations for the 2018 National Tourism Awards for Wales, 44 businesses have been selected as regional winners which will now make up the finalists list for the National Tourism Awards (external link).

Tourism Minister Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “I’m delighted that we can announce our regional winners today – who are all to be congratulated for making it to the final. We have seen an exceptionally high standard of entries this year – who all showcase the best of Wales’ tourism businesses and I look forward to celebrating the industry’s achievements at the National Tourism Awards at the Celtic Manor Resort next month.”

Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Ian Edwards said: “We are delighted to be hosting the 2018 National Tourism Awards for Wales and look forward to a fantastic evening celebrating the best of Welsh tourism. We congratulate all the regional winners and finalists and wish them the best of luck for the national awards ceremony which takes place here at Celtic Manor. We were very pleased to win the Gold Award for Best Business Tourism at the last National Tourism Awards for Wales and we know there will be many more worthy winners rewarded this year.”

BEST HOTEL

North – Dunoon Hotel
Mid – Llangoed Hall Hotel
S. East – Hilton Cardiff
S. West – St Brides Spa Hotel

BEST B&B

North – Manorhaus Llangollen
Mid – Caemorgan Mansion
S. East – The Greyhound Inn & Hotel
S. West – Roch Castle

BEST SELF CATERING

North – Gors-lŵyd Cottage
Mid – Plas Dinam Country House
S. East – Monmouthshire Cottages LLP
S. West – Basel Cottage Holidays

BEST CARAVAN, CAMPING, GLAMPING

North – Llanfair Hall
Mid – Cosy Under Canvas
S. East – Parkdean Resorts Trecco Bay
S. West – Celtic Holiday Parks

BEST ATTRACTION

North – Zip World
Mid – King Arthur’s Labyrinth
S. East – Cardiff International White Water
S. West – Folly Farm

BEST ACTIVITY

North – Always Aim High Events
Mid – want to canoe?
S. East – Loving Welsh Food
S. West – Pembrokeshire Falconry

BEST EVENT

North – Underneath the Arches
Mid – Green Man Festival
S. East – Visit Cardiff (UCLF’17)
S. West – Long Course Weekend

BEST PLACE TO EAT

North – Manorhaus Ruthin
Mid – Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms
S. East – The Whitebrook Restaurant with Rooms
S. West – Beach House

BEST DESTINATION

North – Zip World
Mid – Brecon Beacons Tourism and Brecon Beacons National Park
S. East – Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism
S. West – Fishguard Bay Welcome (FBW)

YOUNG TOURISM PERSON OF THE YEAR

North – Tommy Davies – Coed-Y-Glyn Log Cabins
Mid – Kathryn Colling – Cambria Tours Ltd / Hafan Epic Retreats Cyf
S. East – Rhiannon Art Ltd
S. West – Sarah Jones – National Trust

TOURISM BUSINESS INNOVATION AWARD

North – St George’s Hotel
Mid – Dragon UAV
S. East – The Blaenafon Cheddar Company Ltd
S. West – The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

The announcement of national winners will be at the Awards Ceremony on 8 March 2018.

Business

New row over Circuit of Wales

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Circuit of Wales: Welsh Government 'did not tell' company of moved goalposts

THE WELSH Government has been accused of leading Circuit of Wales promoters ‘up the garden path’ by UKIP Leader Neil Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton’s words followed the revelation that the Welsh Government were not prepared to offer the level of guarantee which it had told the Heads of the Valley Development Corporation it would consider.

In evidence before the Welsh Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee on Monday, the Permanent Secretary to the Welsh Government told surprised AMs that the amount of the guarantee the Welsh Government was actually prepared to consider offering was under one half of that it had told the company it would consider.

In addition, under stiff questioning from Adam Price AM and Neil Hamilton, it emerged that the Welsh Government had ignored advice from the UK Treasury to seek advice from the UK Government infrastructure advisory service and had also failed to tell the company of its bottom line position.

The cross examination of two of the Welsh Government’s most senior civil servants also uncovered that the Welsh Treasury, despite ample notice of the evidence session, were unable to answer the most basic of questions – such as whether officials advising the Welsh Government were aware that the Welsh Government’s guarantees only came into play on completion of the project and whether or not officials handling the project for the Welsh Government had told the Heads of the Valleys Corporation about its changed position on the guarantee.

And the matter was made no clearer by questions directed to the Welsh Government’s Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates on Wednesday (Feb 7). Despite two days having elapsed since senior officials had fobbed off Adam Price and Neil Hamilton with a promise to provide the answers to questions they had failed to address, Mr Skates found himself in the identical position – kicking the can further down the road in the direction of civil servants in Mark Drakeford’s Finance Department.

In addition, despite holding out hope last year that a re-tooled project could receive support in the future, Mr Skates rather firmly closed the door on any prospect of the Welsh Government becoming involved in any racing circuit development.

The lack of preparation in response to questions for which both civil servants and Mr Skates should have been prepared is, perhaps, startling. It would certainly be unfair to suggest that neither civil servants nor Mr Skates wanted to give a straight answer to a straight question because they did not fancy the row that might follow.

Following Mr Skates’ performance, Mr Hamilton said: “Now we know the Labour Government never intended to give the kiss of life to this visionary scheme and transform the poorest part of Wales. They deceived the Circuit’s promoters into spending millions on a finance package that never had a chance of success.

“They deceived the voters of Blaenau Gwent and the northern valleys in last year’s General Election by delaying until after polling day the announcement of their decision to pull the plug.”

Mr Hamilton continued: “Welsh Government constantly moved the goalposts on their proposed guarantee. First, they told the Circuit they wouldn’t guarantee more than 80% of total project costs. That was reduced to 50% but, in truth, they were never prepared to guarantee more than 25%. Their deception is a major scandal. £9.3 million of Welsh taxpayers’ money was wasted because of the Government’s bad faith in negotiations. Worse still, was encouraging false hopes of economic revival in the heads of the valleys only to dash them after the General Election votes were counted.

“Labour politicians should hang their heads in shame and voters should take revenge on these cynics at the next election. UKIP will continue to fight to get the Circuit back on the road. We will fight for the true interests of working people against a Labour Party which has lost touch completely with its roots.”

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New fisheries protection vessels named

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New Fisheries Protection Vessel: Being built in Pembroke Dock

​THE CABINET SECRETARY for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, announced the names of the new Welsh Government fisheries protection vessels.

The Cabinet Secretary visited Mainstay Marine Solutions at Pembroke Dock on Monday (Jan 22) to see the building work currently underway on two of the new vessels built and manufactured in Wales.

The company is delivering high quality boat manufacturing products through a highly committed and locally skilled Pembrokeshire workforce.

During the visit, the Cabinet Secretary also unveiled the new Welsh Government Marine enforcement ensign, which in collaboration with the Garter Principal King of Arms has been designed and manufactured at Welsh social enterprise company, Red Dragon flag-makers in Swansea.

The Cabinet Secretary announced two larger patrol vessels, built by Mainstay Marine Solutions, will be named the FPV Rhodri Morgan and the FPV Lady Megan, with two smaller enforcement RIB’s named the FPV Gwenllian and the FPV Siwan.

A Cabin RIB patrol vessel, built by MST Ltd which is very close to completion, will be named FPV Catrin. The FPV Catrin will undertake sea trials later this month and will be expected to be in operational service early this year.

The FPV Rhodri Morgan and FPV Lady Megan are expected to be in operational service by late autumn this year.

The new vessels will replace the current ageing boats, to effectively protect from illegal fishing activity in Welsh waters and safeguard Wales’ fishing industry and coastal communities in the years ahead.

Lesley Griffiths said: “Our new patrol vessels will ensure we can continue to effectively enforce fisheries and marine laws around the seas of Wales and help ensure we meet our commitment to manage our fish stocks sustainably. They will also help safeguard Wales’ fishing industry and our coastal communities in the years ahead.

“I am delighted to announce the names of the new vessels and to see first-hand the considerable progress that Mainstay Marine has achieved in building two of our new Fisheries Patrol Vessels for Wales.”

Stewart Graves, Managing Director of Mainstay Marine Solutions​,​ said: “We are delighted with the progress of the builds so far. Our design, build and project management teams are enthusiastically engaged in ensuring we deliver a high-quality Welsh product on time and in budget.”

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How to go job-hopping

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Job ​h​opping: No such thing as a job for life

IT WAS once widely accepted that the career path you chose after school or university would be the one you stuck with until retirement.

However, in today’s more fluid and fast-paced job market, is having a ​’​career for life​’ ​becoming an outdated concept?

Leading e-learning organisation Edology, surveyed 1,000 UK employers to see if attitudes have shifted around job hopping. It found that changing jobs could actually be good for your career, with the majority of employers (82%) saying they would still hire someone who had switched jobs in the last six months.

Not only that, but the majority of employers now believe job hopping can actually be a good thing. Over half (51%) of those surveyed believe people that switch careers are more motivated as they know what they want from their job, and 42% are more likely to hire someone who had retrained or made a career change than someone who hadn’t.

However, just because employers are open to people switching jobs more often doesn’t mean you should jump ship and quit your job tomorrow. Here, Jeremy C Bradley, Executive Director at Edology, advises how to make a move in 2018 without damaging your career​:​

​”​Don’t appear to be changing career paths on a whim and be prepared to answer the inevitable question about why you are wanting a change. Instead of focusing on the negatives of switching roles, explain why your skillset and experience from in other roles can benefit your potential new employer, and help you to excel in the role you are applying to.

​”​Rather than focusing on the skills that you don’t have, concentrate on the skills you do have. The employer might not have asked for them on the job advert, but if you can explain why your skills will be beneficial for the role, you’ll stand out. You never know, your differences could even help you succeed – the fresh perspective of someone from a different industry can often provide a greater benefit than the expected skills of a candidate that’s done the role before.

​”​In any industry, who you know can often be as important as what you know, so if you’re starting out in an entirely different sector, make sure you are networking and meeting people in your chosen field. See if there are networking events coming up and follow the relevant people on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a tip off for a job opening allowing you to get in there early or a good word to the right person, making connections can never be a bad thing.

​”​Before applying for jobs, make sure your social media profiles are showing you off in the best possible light. Monitor what you are posting and what others are sharing with you. It might also be worth going back through previous status updates and pictures and removing any that could be seen as negative or inappropriate.

​”​Familiarise yourself with trends and recent news in your chosen industry, as well as commonly asked interview questions for the role, so that you’re not caught out when you begin meeting potential employers. Brush up your knowledge on the company’s background and if at all possible, meet someone who works at the company for coffee beforehand in order to get all the insider knowledge​,” he added.​

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