A popular restaurant group that’s served 350,000 diners and spent £1.3 million with North Wales suppliers this year has been honoured with a top award for its massive contribution to tourism in the region.

Dylan’s, which has three seaside restaurants in Menai Bridge, Criccieth and Llandudno, received the Special Recognition Award at the 2018 Go North Wales Tourism Awards.

The glittering ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno was organised by North Wales Tourism which represents more than 1,500 tourism-related members across the area.

The audience was entertained by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Gruffydd Wyn Roberts, from Anglesey.

Other winners included the Armed Forces Day which attracted 100,000 people to Llandudno and was named the best crowd puller over 7,500, with the best crowd puller under 7,500 being the MOSTYN Museum of the Moon at LLAWN, in partnership with Migrations

Meanwhile, Chateau Rhianfa, in Menai Bridge, was crowned the best place to eat and RibRide Adventure Boat Tours won the title of attraction/activity of the year with the best customer service award going to the Lawton and Lauriston Court Hotel, Llandudno.

Dylan’s now employs 170 staff and has invested £400,000 in a central kitchen to improve quality, efficiency and consistency.

The company has also recruited an executive chef, a development chef and training staff to help to ensure they keep developing the workforce and helping with retention.

With an eye on the environment, Dylan’s ran a plastic-free bar campaign across the business and organised monthly beach clean-ups in Criccieth and Llandudno.

Among the other highlights in 2018 was instigating the Moveable Feast project, working with food producers to stage family friendly pop-up festivals in 10 North Wales towns over the summer.

David Evans, who runs the restaurant chain with business partner Robin Hodgson, said: “It’s wonderful to receive this Special Recognition award it really does mean a lot.

“We work closely with local producers and that enables us to celebrate everything good about North Wales, whether that’s sea food, or any other produce.

“We have three beautiful restaurants in three beautiful locations. This award is a testament to the hard work of our staff and head chefs who work closely together to keep our menu fresh and innovative.”

RibRide directors Tom Ashwell and Phil Scott say there are thrilled with the award which recognises their significant investment and hard work.

Tom Ashwell said: “We started the business 13 years ago and it really has been a great deal of hard work. We are proud that we now have the world’s fastest RIB (rigid inflatable boat).

“Velocity can carry up to 12 passengers at speeds of 72 knots, which is just less than 90mph.  We are employing six full time staff and 18 seasonal staff.”

Phil Scott added: “We are seeing more visitors than ever and this summer has been remarkable. We have 10 boats at the present time but are looking to expand.

“We are looking to expand our position within the ULK market and our next project, which is still on the drawing board, revolves around electric powered boats.

“To win this award is a huge honour especially as North Wales is the adventure capital of not just Wales but the whole UK.”

Conwy County Borough Council were celebrating after the Armed Forces Day in Llandudno attracted more than 100,000 people.

The council’s lead member for adult social care, community wellbeing and housing, Councillor Liz Roberts says being short-listed for the ward was fantastic but to actually win it was incredible.

She said: “This is down to all the hard work of Rachel Gill our event manager and our Forces and North Wales Police colleagues. It’s an absolute honour and I am so pleased all the hard work has paid off.”

Conwy County Borough Council’s event manager Rachel Gill said: “I am absolutely over the moon; it’s incredible that all the hard work has paid off. I had amazing support from Major Tracey Brookes and many others who all pulled together to make the event the undoubted success it was.”

Major Tracey Brookes of the Royal Military Police and the 160th Infantry Brigade and Wales HQ, said: “I am so honoured. I was the military lead for the event and I am so proud to be involved and so proud to celebrate a North Wales event.

“I’m a Swansea girl but absolutely adore North Wales. To be involved in an event such as this was just amazing.”

North Wales Police sergeant Colm McNelis added: “It’s a real honour to have been short-listed

The Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, was delighted to be there.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate the best that the north Wales tourism industry has to offer – and we have such a lot to celebrate .

“It’s important for us  to put tourism in the limelight and pay tribute to those who are committed and passionate about their businesses, tourism and North Wales – those who work so hard to welcome our 10 million visitors each year – and give them reasons to return.”

Speaking after the event which was organised in partnership with Heart North Wales, North Wales Tourism managing director Jim Jones said the sheer volume and quality of entries this year underlined why the region was increasingly being recognised as a world class destination which generates £3 billion every year and employs around 40,000 people.

He said: “It’s been very successful and I congratulate all the winners. However, in my eyes every nominee is a winner and all have played a party in what has been a successful year for North Wales Tourism.

“This event really showcases the very best of North Wales and we have seen so many amazing entries.

“It is a clear indication to me that the quality of the tourism offer here is improving every year.

“We already had the raw material in the form of our breath-taking scenery and stunning coastline and now we have the infrastructure to match.

“We are not resting on our laurels though. The competition will not stand still so we must always strive to get better.”

List of winners

Go Hotel of the Year: Portmeirion, Minffordd

Go B&B/Inn of the Year: Taldraeth, Penrhyndeudraeth

Go Self-catering of the Year: Forest Holidays, Beddgelert

Go Caravan, Camping or Glamping: Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park, Penmaenmawr

Go Attraction/Activity of the Year: RibRide Adventure Boat Tours

Go Magnificent Crown Puller (over 7.5k): Armed Forces Day, Llandudno

Go Magnificent Crown Puller (fewer than 7.5k): MOSTYN Museum of the Moon at LLAWN in partnership with Migrations

Go Best Place to Eat: Chateau Rhianfa, Menai Bridge

Go Young Tourism Person of the Year: Sam Foulkes, Cyclone Events, Wrexham

Go Marketing Award: Talyllyn Railway

Go Green Award: Tre-Ysgawen Hall Country House Hotel & Spa,  Llangefni

Go Pet Friendly Award: The Doghouse, Llandegla

Go Customer Service Award: Lawton & Lauriston Court Hotel, Llandudno