When Sophie Evans joined ranks with Coastal Cottages way back in 1993, little did she think she'd become an integral force in its dominance of the holiday cottage industry.

"I came back to Pembrokeshire after finishing my degree for the simple reason that I wanted to earn some money before setting off and travelling around the world," she says.  "But three decades on, I'm still here."

Sophie joined the company soon after it was taken over by Philip Evans, CBE.  "He was a great entrepeneur who, after reviewing the company, saw its potential and quickly turned it into a professional outift rather than a kitchen table business.  I learnt a tremendous amount from Philip, as I didn't have a job title in those days but just did did everything that came my way."

Two years after joining the company, Sophie was appointed director and then in 2001, she became chief executive after taking it over in partnership with her husband Matthew.

"One of the first things I wanted to do was strengthen forces with Visit Wales and also Pembrokeshire County Council who have always done a great deal to promote and market tourism. 

But naturally this was in the days before the arrival of the internet which meant we had to attend events such as 'The Country Living Show' so we could indentify our customers and also raise the general standards. At the time, there was an air of complacency because people just wanted to go to places like Solva and Tenby without looking at the quality of the properties they were staying in. 

"We wanted an exceptionally high standard of properties but at the same time, we wanted properties that were outside the formulaic box. So for example, we have a property on our books that has no electricity, is extremely isolated and is perched right on the edge of the cliff. 

"We just want properties that are instrinsic to what Pembrokeshire has to offer. It's an incredible county and our visitors need to be given everything possible to make their visit stand out.

"I was born in Pembroke Dock, my parents have a farm in Pembrokeshire, so whenever we went on holidays we always spent time saying how amazing Pembrokeshire was.  We love our county and wew love our home and as a result, I guess I've become a bit of an abassador for it."