A new tourism service which promotes Hartlepool and theTees Valley as a world-class destination has been launched today.
The TeesValley Combined Authority, with a wide range of partners, has unveiled the initiative to coincide with the start of English Tourism week.
A dedicated destination and marketing website, tourism service and brand – Enjoy Tees Valley – together 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.
Figures show 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 20million people and add £1billion to our 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.”
The service was launched on HMS Trincomalee, the world’s oldest floating warship, at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool.
Research has shown that the Experience, along with Middlesbrough’s Institute of Modern Art (mima), Stockton’s Butterfly World, Kirkleatham Museum, in Redcar and Darlington’s South Park, are high on visitors’ to-do lists.
Alan Smith, from St Helens, on Merseyside, was visiting HMS Trincomalee on a trip north and said: “Our friends said we must come here to see the ship. The museum is unbelievable, it was so authentic. Sometimes too realistic.
“This is the first time I’ve been here but I’d definitely come back and see this again.”
Michael Janes, Tees Valley branch Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “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.”
Access the new website at www.enjoyteesvalley.com.
*Each day this week, Enjoy Tees Valley will be running a social media campaign on a different town within its area.
Monday, March 19, is Hartlepool's turn and businesses are encouraged to join in by firstly following Enjoy Tees Valley on Facebook @enjoyteesvalley, Twitter @EnjoyTeesValley and Instagram @enjoyteesvalley.
They can then join in with conversations using the hashtag #Enjoy, like, comment and share posts and post their own content while highlighting Enjoy Tees Valley and its website.