CARDIGAN has been heralded as ‘a showcase to the best of rural west Wales’.

A wave of high quality attractions, accommodation, eateries and produce has seen Cardigan flourish as a go-to destination for many, said Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas on a visit to the town.

He also praised the introduction of the town app and free WiFi in helping drive Cardigan forward and make it more attractive to both locals and visitors.

The minister’s first stop was Cardigan Castle, before going on to local food businesses Pizza Tipi and Crwst, and then dropping in at Small World Theatre, which recently launched its Cragen project along the Welsh coastline.

“Having a tour of Cardigan and seeing the variety and quality of what the town has to offer has been a real pleasure,” said Lord Elis-Thomas.

“There’s a vibrancy in the town, with the new developments making the most of the town’s culture and heritage, giving people a sense of what Aberteifi is really about.

“The town’s industrial heritage is also turning around, with Hiut Denim making a name for itself world-wide.

“This is a town which is proud of its history and, through offering a quality experience, employing local staff and excellent local produce, it is also a showcase to the best of rural west Wales.

“I’m delighted to see Cardigan facing the future with confidence and vision. It’s been wonderful to hear of the success stories and of the plans the town’s businesses have for the future – long may their success continue.”

The Minister met the owner of Pizza Tipi James Lynch, also owner of Fforest in Cilgerran where excellent local produce, the commitment of the staff and the stunning location along the River Teifi are proving a real recipe for success.

He discussed further opportunities for the town to maximise its tourism potential and provide further employment for young local people.

Lord Elis-Thomas talked to Catrin and Osian Jones, the two local entrepreneurs behind Crwst. They’ve recently taken over further space on an industrial estate in the town to keep up with demand and have quickly established themselves as one of the destination eateries for the town.

The minister met with Crwst chef, Sam Everton who won the top chef under-24 award in the World Skills Competition this year. Crwst has also been shortlisted as a regional finalist for the second year running in the Rural Business Awards.

The minister also singled out the recently-opened award-winning El Salsa as another example of a successful food business establishing itself in the town.

“With the diversity and quality of what is now on offer in Cardigan, I don’t think I am over-stressing the case to say that Cardigan could be a major food destination in a few years’ time,” added Lord Elis-Thomas.