Living and working in such a unique and remarkable region, it is sometimes helpful to take a step back from the insider's viewpoint and find out what it is that attracts people here as visitors.

The stunning scenery and plentiful retail are certainly two big draws, but yesterday we got a summary of the business attractions - courtesy of Prince Charles.

As is often the case with royal visits, a tight itinerary is key to getting the most out of his time here (and that of Queen Letizia of Spain, for a rare royal double). So the choices deserve a close look, as they reflect an understanding of what we are made of and the newer influences on our business success.

First to the new Darlington Farmers Auction Mart at The Humbleton Park Auction Centre, now featuring the same amount of muck, but with added solar panels and ground source heating. This is a high-profile symbol of change, with the former site just off the town centre making less and less sense, particularly as the long-awaited railway station redevelopment grew in ambition and priority.

Now it has a new site reflecting its importance - and worthy of a royal visit.

Then Charles moved on to Kromek to meet the team and be given a tour of the NETPark facilities in Sedgefield. Kromek is consistently one of the most innovative firms we have and Charles' seal of approval will be a huge boost to a hard-working team that adds to our tech reputation every day.

And finally to Bishop Auckland for the Zurbarans at Auckland Castle and the Spanish Gallery, both courtesy of philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer, who has certainly put his money where his mouth is, with Kynren as well, but whose vast investments are still struggling to turn around the town itself.

Heartbreakingly, Ruffer missed his big day as Covid struck, but the power of a royal nod would have done him a world of good.

The three venues sum us up well - we are innovative and cultural but will never forget how much we owe to our founding industries.

If we continue to appreciate that as much as our visitors do, the region is well set to grow further and stronger from the most solid of foundations.