ONE of Wales' most famous daughters was honoured for her worldwide ambassadorial role for the country at an awards ceremony last night.
Familiar with collecting awards for her performances on stage and screen, Catherine Zeta Jones was recognised for the global role she plays for her native land at the National Tourism Awards for Wales.
Fashion designer David Emanuel collected the award on behalf of the Swansea-born star, whose dedication to promoting Wales all over the world contributes to rising tourist numbers here.
In a personalised thank-you letter to the chairman of the Wales Tourist Board, Catherine said, "I am delighted to be thanked for something that comes naturally to me - being proud of my home country, Wales.
"Wherever I go I try to make people aware of where I come from and what an amazing place Wales is.
"I make frequent visits home to see my friends and family, and when I am there it is like I have never been away.
"Wales will always hold a very special place in my heart."
Zeta Jones's award was a special addition to the 10 awards to be handed out at the glittering event, which celebrates the achievement of top businesses, organisations and individuals in the £2.5bn-a-year industry.
The awards come at a time when confidence-boosting figures show Wales is out-performing the rest of Britain in attracting UK visitors.
Winners of last night's titles ranged from Lilwen McAllister, who runs a small guest house in Fishguard and offers her visitors the perfect "warm Welsh welcome", to a trekking centre in Carmarthen that is attracting customers via the worldwide web.
The long-established National Show caves Centre for Wales, Dan yr Ogof received the Wales and Borders Trains' "Top Day Out" accolade for providing a unique experience, while Plas Tan y Bwlch, Snowdonia National Park Authority's Environmental Studies Centre received the award for best "Specialist Activity Provider".
The prized "Best Place to Stay Award", sponsored by Air Wales was separated into three sub categories this year.
Pencelli Castle Caravan and Camping Park in the Brecon Beacons welcomes visitors from around the world to its five-star facilities, and won the title in the self-catering category.
The top-class Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron bagged the title in the under-£50-a-night category, and Castell Deudraeth in Portmeirion won the over-£50-a-night title by offering its visitors a unique Welsh experience.
Sponsored by Wales the True Taste, WDA, this year's "Greatest Event in Wales" prize went to the Abergavenny Food Festival which takes place each September and provides a significant boost to the local economy.
With the training needs of their staff top of the menu, the Badger's Caf in Llandudno won the Tourism Training Forum for Wales' "Learning to Succeed" award and the Llanberis Partnership took the "Tourism for the Community" title, sponsored by Uwic.
Steve Watkins who wrote a feature on canoeing in Snowdonia for Global magazine won the "Wales in the Media" award.
Winners from outside Wales were Superbreak of York who won the "Team Wales UK" award and Euro Relais, Netherlands, who won the "Team Wales International" award, sponsored by Reed Exhibitions, for their commitment to increasing the number of visitors they bring to Wales.