1. ITV Report

Tees Valley's ambitious tourism plan

HMS Trincomalee, based at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool. Photo: ITV News Tyne Tees

An ambitious plan's been launched which hopes to bring millions of extra visitors to the Tees Valley and create thousands of jobs.

It's part of the area's bid to become City of Culture in 2025, which will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington railway.

Roseberry Topping, near Middlesbrough. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Enjoy Tees Valley has been launched today to showcase the area's coast, countryside and culture - a bold new campaign to change old misconceptions.

Those behind it say they want the world to see what's on offer here, and help boost this city region's bid to become 2025 city of culture.

The Georgian Theatre in Stockton-on-Tees. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

2025 of course is the 200th anniversary of the Stockton Darlington railway which really gives us a focus for this.

This is an attempt to create that ambition and allow us to say the things that we are good at to the rest of the world.

– Dave Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough

Currently, the Tees Valley attracts as many day visitors as Newcastle and Gateshead, but falls behind on the number of tourists who will then stay overnight.

This campaign is aimed at attracting 20 million more visitors every year - that increase would add an additional one billion pounds to the local economy - and create 3000 new jobs. And the area's rich cultural past is a vital tool in shaping a more prosperous future.

We really support it, it's such an important piece of work to try and promote what we all do collectively and what we have to offer in the Tees Valley"

Visitors come through every week and are constantly surprised at what we have to offer on this site alone.

– Ros Adamson, Royal Navy Museum - Hartlepool

Trudy and Rodney Pitcher from Warwickshire are on holiday in the area. They've visited Darlington and the Hartlepool Marina.

Both say they've been surprised at what the region has to offer, having held the opinion that it might be depressed. The couple say they'll definitely come back.

Watch: Rachel Bullock's full report.