An exciting new tourism service which promotes Tees Valley as a world-class destination has been launched today, by the Combined Authority with a wide range of partners, to coincide with English Tourism week.
A dedicated destination and marketing website, tourism service and brand – Enjoy Tees Valley – aim to boost the visitor economy and help tourists and residents experience the best of the region as it gears up to launch its bid for UK City of Culture 2025.
Tees Valley attracts as many day visitors as Newcastle and Gateshead, but it lags behind in overnight stays and national profile, and has been without a destination tourism service for a number of years.
Enjoy Tees Valley aims to attract more than 20 million people and add £1 billion to the local economy per year by 2021 – creating 3,000 new jobs.
Tess Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “From our industrial skyline to our stunning rolling countryside, each town and village that makes up the Tees Valley is rich with local culture, heritage and attractions.
“We are passionate about our home, and with the new Enjoy Tees Valley brand, we can capitalise on our strengths and ensure that visitors to the area get to sample more and experience more.”
Research has shown Middlesbrough’s Institute of Modern Art (mima), Stockton’s Butterfly World, Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar and Darlington’s South Park are high on visitors’ to-do lists.
Enjoy Tees Valley’s website (www.enjoyteesvalley.com) provides many more suggestions for great things to do and allows users to search for places to stay, find out what’s on, choose the best places to eat and drink, be inspired by itineraries, take advantage of special offers and build a personalised visit planner.
Mayor Houchen added: “English Tourism Week is the perfect time to launch Enjoy Tees Valley and shout about what our region has to offer.
“It’s time to showcase all that we are proud of, throw open our arms and invite the world to see our world-class attractions for themselves ahead of launching our UK City of Culture bid in 2021.
“The tourism industry has huge potential to support regeneration, local businesses dependent on the visitor pound and safeguard and create more jobs. Our fantastic arts, culture and leisure offerings, as well as our rich heritage, play a huge role in helping it expand.
“With Enjoy Tees Valley leading the charge by positioning us as an attractive place to live, work and visit, this growth will be supercharged.”
Dave Budd, mayor of Middlesbrough and Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet member for culture, said: “Enjoy Tees Valley is just the beginning of our work to develop and promote tourism. Our area has great potential to appeal to a wide range of audiences and the website showcases the staggering range of things to do and see in the region.
“There is everything from surfing and white water rafting to walking and cycling. You can visit beautiful countryside and experience world-class arts and culture. We are calling on everyone to get involved and tell the world about our brilliant attractions.”
Rachel Dodd, director of Stockton-based RiverShack boat hire, said: “Enjoy Tees Valley is a fantastic idea that will really help organisations such as ours to thrive. This region has so much to offer. Enjoy Tees Valley will provide a much-needed platform for attractions, companies targeting tourists, restaurants and bars to work together.
“Since 2014 we’ve tried relentlessly to promote the area, increase visitor numbers to the River Tees and local attractions, plus make the case for improved investment in much-needed infrastructure. We’re just one voice – however by working together we can now make a much larger splash.”
Michael Janes, Tees Valley branch chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “I have been working alongside businesses for years to keep stressing the outstanding tourism experiences on offer across our region. Now I couldn’t be happier to be an advocate for Enjoy Tees Valley.
“This service will give the sector a shot in the arm and bolster small businesses who rely on the benefits visitors bring.
“It will make it easier than ever to find out about the latest events and get the most out of our area.”