Vancouver, BC (January 28, 2013): On the heels of last week's announcement regarding the launch of Vancouver's new Tourism Master Plan and process for the city, Tourism Vancouver is taking the next step to more fully engage visitors. The organization has temporarily closed its flagship Visitor Centre and major renovations are now underway that will lead to a new way of servicing tourists.

Slated to open in late spring, the new Visitor Centre will be reduced in size but will feature an increased capacity to meet the needs of tourists. Thanks to a more efficient layout and technological upgrades, the centre will allow visitors to more easily learn about and purchase more than 200 tourism products and experiences available throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond.

"With new digital technology, the Visitor Centre doesn't need the sizeable retail space that was required when we first opened 20 years ago," said Ted Lee, Tourism Vancouver's CFO and vice president of Visitor Sales & Services. "The new centre will combine personal service by professional staff and trained volunteers with the latest digital and mobile technology, along with good old-fashioned visitor guides, maps and brochures, to maximize every visitor's Vancouver experience. Our aim is to engage more tourists, entice them to stay longer, and help create a ‘wow' experience that ensures they return to Vancouver again and again."

Renovations to the centre will make way for the addition of a Rogue Restaurant, part of the well-known Steamworks Group of Companies whose popular establishments include Steamworks Brewing Company and Rogue Kitchen & Wet Bar. Eli Gershkovitch, CEO of the Steamworks Group of Companies, looks forward to adding another Rogue Restaurant to his stable and developing a strong working relationship with his company's new neighbour. Mr. Gershkovitch previously served on the board of Tourism Vancouver (2003-2005) and, as a longstanding member of the organization, is well aware of the evolving nature of visitor engagement.

"Our entry into the neighbourhood provides Tourism Vancouver with the opportunity to modernize and streamline its visitor servicing approach while at the same time opening a premium venue to further serve those working, living and visiting the Convention Centre area," said Gershkovitch. "This is a market that we have excelled at serving over the years, and we think it's an ideal opportunity for our organization to open a new Rogue adjacent to Tourism Vancouver's renovated Visitor Centre."

Rogue will take over approximately 4,000 square feet of the existing Visitor Centre, in addition to patio space on the west side of Waterfront Centre (facing Burrard Street at Canada Place Way), while Tourism Vancouver will use the remaining 2,000 square feet on the north side for its operations which includes Tickets Tonight, Vancouver's only half-price, day-of ticket centre and Ticketmaster outlet.

Cadillac Fairview, the owner/manager of Waterfront Centre, was very supportive of the new plans for the space. "The waterfront area is a prime location for businesses and visitors who want to take advantage of the incredible views and amenities the area has to offer. The new Rogue restaurant and renovated Visitor Centre will add to the overall vibrancy and appeal of the neighbourhood," noted Cadillac Fairview's General Manager for the Waterfront Properties portfolio, Lesley Heieis.

Until the new Visitor Centre opens, Tourism Vancouver will continue to assist visitors in the lobby of the Vancouver Convention Centre's East Building. Tickets Tonight is temporarily located in the concourse that connects the East and West Convention Centre Buildings.

Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists.