Visit Denver’s downtown visitor information center at the corner of 16th and California Streets closed last week and will and re-open across the street at 1575 California St. as a new state-of-the-art, high tech, 21st Century visitor center in January 2015. The center helps more than 100,000 visitors a year with personalized information about what to see and do in the city, and provides visitors guides, maps and brochures.
“You can’t make a Denver omelet without cracking a few eggs, and so to move into our new high tech visitor information center, we needed to close down the current one for a few weeks,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of Visit Denver. The tourism agency will continue to answer through 1-800-2DENVER, online at www.visitdenver.com and mail inquiries, and still operates the visitor information center in the main terminal at Denver International Airport.
The new center, Scharf explained, will be a state-of-the-art facility with videos, touch screens and computers – along with the center’s expert staff – to provide information on Denver’s arts, dining, nightlife, events and Colorado excursions. On-demand printers in the center will reduce the amount of paper used, while increasing the amount of information given out – and the ease with which to find it.
“We see tremendous use of our information centers from international visitors because they are more conditioned to seek out visitor centers and get personal help and directions,” Scharf said. About 30 percent of the people who use the downtown center are from other countries. Visit Denver prints visitor brochures to Denver in nine languages.
Visit Denver also produces the comprehensive Official Visitors Guide to Denver & Colorado, which is filled with maps and touring suggestions. The information center distributes maps and brochures from their 1,200 partners and has a Denver-centric gift shop. A team of 12 staff and volunteers work at the visitor information centers, offering help and suggestions on what to see and do.
“Studies have shown that visitors who stop at an information center usually stay longer in the city, and spend more money, so information centers are an important part of Denver’s $4 billion travel industry,” Scharf said.
Denver is coming off of its best year ever for conventions in 2014, and building on a record year in 2013 that saw 14 million overnight visitors.
“The new center is on the principle route that convention delegates take between the Colorado Convention Center and their hotels, and is just off the city’s number one tourism attraction, the 16th Street Mall, so we get a lot of foot traffic from out-of-towners,” Scharf said. But, he is inviting residents to come down and see the new center in January 2015. “Denver has so much going on right now, that residents should come down and be a tourist in their own town and check out how much information is available and how much there is to see and do right here.”