MID Wales Tourism has appointed a new chief executive following the retirement of Val Hawkins.

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.

"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.

Zoe Hawkins said: "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."