THE brightest and best from the tourism industry have been celebrated.
From plush hotels to cosy country pubs, eco-friendly attractions and festivals, the businesses that help attract people to South West Wales were recognised last night.
More than 440 people attended the Swansea Bay Tourism Awards bash, for what organisers say was the biggest event of its kind in Wales.
One of the organisers, Tony McGetrick, said the judges had received a record number of entries for the biennial awards.
"We had an outstanding response," he said.
"We had so many nominations we had to split some of the categories.
"What was very pleasing to see was the number of nominations from customers.
"We had more than 440 people at last night's ceremony, making it the largest tourism awards event in Wales."
Mr McGetrick said tourism was worth £420 million a year to the economy of Swansea Bay, and despite a poor summer for weather, the industry had "held its own".
Among the winners of awards, sponsored by South West Wales Media, were Morgans Hotel, which won the best large independent hotel category, and the King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston, which won best pub or bar.
Gower Kitchen in Uplands, Swansea, won best cafe or bistro in the best meal out category, while the annual Gower Walking Festival was crowned best festival or event.
The Dan yr Ogof caves in the Swansea Valley picked up an outstanding services to tourism award, while Swansea Council won an innovation in marketing award for its Premier League promotion campaign on the back of Swansea City's rise into football's top flight.
The winner of best activity provider was the indoor go-karting track Skidz Karting in Fforestfach.
Other categories included best B&B, best camping site, and best visitor experience.
Mr McGetrick said: "Quality is the key.
"Consumers are more cautious with disposable income at the moment, but they will spend for quality.
"One of the things Tourism Swansea Bay tries to promote is quality — quality products and services, quality experiences, quality staff training.
"It is important we become a quality destination, and the judges were pleased to see the number of nominations we received from customers who obviously liked what they were getting.
"We have a wide range of businesses in the tourism sector, from small independent businesses just employing a handful of people through to the big national chains.
"The Swansea Bay Tourism Awards are a chance to recognise and celebrate those who are making a real contribution to the sector."
Find out the winners' reaction in tomorrow's Evening Post