A man who has been involved in the Mid Wales tourism industry for nearly half a century has joined an exclusive group.
Ian Rutherford, owner of King Arthur's Labyrinth, Corris Mine Explorers and Corris Craft Centre, has been made a life member of MWT Cymru, an independent company that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
His appointment to the exclusive group of life members was confirmed at MWT Cymru’s virtual annual meeting when he was warmly praised for his service to tourism in Mid Wales.
MWT Cymru’s chairman Rowland Rees-Evans described Mr Rutherford as “a giant in the tourism industry for many years”. Former chairman, Anne Lloyd Jones, a fellow life member, said Mid Wales Tourism might not have survived without his leadership as interim chief executive.
New MWT Cymru board member Jonathan Jones, a former Wales Tourist Board chief executive, said:
“I would like to thank Ian for the work that he has done over many years for the former Wales Tourist Board and for tourism in general in Mid Wales.”
Val Hawkins, chief executive, said:
“Ian has made a massive contribution to MWT Cymru and Mid Wales tourism in general .”
Responding to the life membership award, Mr Rutherford said: “I am really pleased that I have been honoured in such a way by my peers in the tourism industry. I have been involved in the tourism in Mid Wales for nearly 50 years and have been a great supporter of the industry working together.”
He arrived in Mid Wales in 1972 to take over as general manager of Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, having previously worked for a firm of accountants and consultants in London.
He then established the King Arthur’s Labyrinth underground tourism attraction in 1993. Wishing to retire, he is now in the process of selling the attraction together with Corris Craft Centre and Corris Mine Explorers.
Mr Rutherford was involved with a forerunner to MWT Cymru, the Mid Wales Tourism Council, which became Mid Wales Tourism (MWT) in 1991. He then served as MWT’s chief executive for six months during the reorganisation of the Wales Tourist Board.
He has been involved with MWT, which has rebranded as MWT Cymru, since it was established and served as a director for many years before standing down earlier this year.