Valerie Hawkins, chief executive officer for Mid Wales Tourism, received an MBE for services to tourism and the economy in Wales.

Val, 65, joined the not-for-profit MWT in 1999. MWT Cymru, which has a team of four full and part-time staff, is an independent tourism organisation representing 600 tourism and hospitality member businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and southern Snowdonia.

“I am surprised but delighted to have been recognised with an MBE,” said Val.

“I am proud of the work I have done as an officer of MWT Cymru over the past 24 years, particularly during the pandemic when a lot of good people in the industry pulled together to try to mitigate the impact on tourism businesses through that extremely challenging time.

“I must thank the MWT directors and staff I have worked with over the years and our member businesses and community groups for their support. I am part of a business community and, for a rural region, we collectively punch way above our weight.

“Our strength lies in being a small but flexible and agile team which allows us to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.”

Val helped to develop and implement pioneering digital technology, with mid Wales becoming one of the first UK regions to have a destination management system and launch the first Visit Mid Wales regional website in 2001, which expanded to cover the whole of Wales.

Rowland Rees-Evans, a director of Penrhos Park, Llanrhystud, said: “We at MWT Cymru are absolutely delighted and thrilled that Val has been recognised for the excellent work she has done over the last 24 years for the tourism industry. Her MBE is richly deserved.”