Tourism Boost As Region Secures Major Visitor Status

Business & Invest | Published on: 22nd February 2024

Tees Valley’s tourism sector has secured a major new status which will deliver vital new funding and support to attract visitors and boost businesses.

Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs) have been established by the UK Government to transform the nation’s tourist economy.

Tees Valley has now been named as the latest region to secure LVEP status – putting it equal with areas including County Durham, Northumberland, Liverpool and Manchester.

LVEP status provides key benefits including access to investment and support from national tourism body VisitEngland and through greater local, regional and national collaboration.

The bid was led by Visit Tees Valley, the region’s Destination Management Organisation overseen by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. It is a partnership of the five Local Authorities, bringing together Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees, alongside tourism and hospitality businesses and creative and cultural representatives, to drive growth.

The LVEP will work with public and private sector partners, creating an LVEP Board to promote the region’s offer across the UK and internationally while ultimately helping businesses flourish, create more jobs and make the region an even better place to live and visit.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is more than just a box-ticking exercise, thanks to this status we’ll have even more resource at our disposal to be able to shout about our region, compete with big cities and continue to develop our area as a fantastic place to visit.

“Working closely with brilliant local businesses and the likes of VisitEngland and VisitBritain, we’ll be able to go further in creating a joined-up economy which benefits our hospitality, leisure and culture offer across our high streets, towns and villages.

“In 2022, the visitor economy was worth well over £1billion to the region, and this will help it grow even more.”

Alison Gwynn, Tees Valley Business Board lead on the Creative Economy, said: “We’ve got a fantastic opportunity to expand on the Destination Management Plan already in place for Tees Valley, now we’ve got stronger than ever strategic relationships with Government and other visitor organisations.

“We also have the chance to help our SMEs in the sector, driving a targeted business support offer for their development. They’ll benefit from networking, collaboration and access to exclusive promotion and marketing materials and we’ll work closely with them to see them succeed.”

Director Andrew Stokes from VisitEngland said: “The Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEP) programme is transforming the visitor economy landscape in England, supporting its growth in a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable way and I am delighted to welcome Visit Tees Valley.

“Working together, the LVEPs are simplifying our tourism landscape, ensuring England continues to be a compelling destination for both domestic and international visitors.  As Visit Tees Valley is established as an LVEP, VisitEngland will provide ongoing support including a dedicated regional lead.”

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