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New chief executive pledges to continue supporting Mid Wales tourism sector

MWT Cymru, an advocate for tourism businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd, has announced a leadership change with the appointment of Zoe Hawkins as new chief executive.

With 14 years of dedicated service within the organisation, coupled with her first-hand experience as a business owner, Zoe has a wealth of experience and a keen understanding of the complexities faced by tourism businesses.

Zoe, who lives in Newtown, is looking forward to leading MWT Cymru, also known as Mid Wales Tourism, into a new era of growth and collaboration. She takes up her new post next month.

“I am immensely proud to take on the role of chief executive at MWT Cymru, an organisation dedicated to the prosperity of the tourism sector in Mid Wales,” said Zoe.

“Having been a part of this community for more than a decade, I’ve seen the resilience and creativity of our members. My commitment is to continue fostering a supportive environment where our tourism businesses can flourish.”

Zoe succeeds Val Hawkins, MBE, who retires after 25 years of leadership and more than 40 years working in the tourism sector. Val’s contributions to the organisation and the wider industry were recognised last year when she was awarded an MBE for her services to tourism and the Welsh economy.

“I am deeply honoured to carry on the legacy of Val’s exceptional leadership and am dedicated to further building upon the strong foundation she has established,” added Zoe.

As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, Machynlleth-based MWT Cymru stands as a vital support system for more than 600 independent tourism-related businesses in the Mid Wales region.

The organisation aims to serve these businesses by advocating on their behalf at both regional and national levels, ensuring their voices are heard in pivotal discussions affecting the future of tourism and our rural economy.

Val expressed confidence in Zoe’s leadership. “After 25 years of service to MWT Cymru, I am immensely proud of all that we have accomplished together,” she said.

“I have full faith in Zoe’s abilities to lead MWT Cymru into its next chapter, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to our members for their unwavering support throughout my tenure.”

Rowland Rees-Evans, MWT Cymru Chairman and director of Penrhos Park, Llanrhystud, added: “With her valuable knowledge and experience, Zoe is well placed to continue to support MWT Cymru member in the months and years ahead,” he said.

Since joining MWT Cymru in 2010, Zoe has played a pivotal role in various initiatives, joining as a business development officer, digital projects manager and then operations manager in 2019.

“Mid Wales is blessed with a vibrant community of independent businesses that not only contribute to our local economy but also serve as a unique draw for our tourism market,” added Zoe.

“Our region’s identity is intricately intertwined with its farming heritage, close-knit communities and family-owned businesses. It’s imperative that we collaborate to safeguard and promote these assets.”

Zoe says MWT Cymru will continue to prioritise collaboration and support among its members, emphasising the importance of working together to bolster the tourism sector and support rural businesses.

She also emphasised the organisation’s steadfast commitment to representing it member businesses at a regional and national level, as well as serving as a comprehensive resource for them, facilitating growth and promoting Mid Wales as a premier tourism destination.

Photo caption:

Zoe Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s new chief executive.