Vancouver, BC (August 12, 2013): After a complete redesign and renovation, Tourism Vancouver's flagship Visitor Centre across from Canada Place is now open.

Designed with a modern, West Coast esthetic, the renovated Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre features a "living wall" with 600 plants, a Hesquiaht totem pole carved by renowned Vancouver Island artist Tim Paul, and giant digital walls showcasing videos and images of inspiring tourism experiences. Additional highlights include an open plan design (replacing the traditional counter that formerly separated tourists and staff), an interactive restaurant information touch screen, complimentary internet bar, free Wifi, and an expanded Tickets Tonight box office ¬(Vancouver's only half-price, day-of ticket centre and Ticketmaster outlet). During the soft-opening in July, feedback from visitors was overwhelmingly positive.

Located in downtown Vancouver at the north end of 200 Burrard Street, opposite the Canada Place cruise ship terminal and the Vancouver Convention Centre, the new 2,000-square-foot centre is a full refurbishment of the original Visitor Centre which has operated in the same location since 1992.

Ted Lee, Tourism Vancouver's CFO and VP of Experience Vancouver commented, "The needs of visitors, and the way we think about visitor servicing, have changed since we opened the original centre some 20 years ago. The design of the new Visitor Centre allows for more personal, comfortable and efficient interaction between tourists and staff, and offers an authentic West Coast sense of place. Our goal is to exceed visitors' expectations and in so doing, we aim to extend length of stay, increase return visits, and maximize the economic impact of tourism for Vancouver and British Columbia."

The new Visitor Centre is one component of a larger Destination Customer Experience and Management strategy that was endorsed by Tourism Vancouver's board of directors in 2011. This strategy considers a visitor's total interaction with the destination: from trip-planning, to experiencing the destination, to creating Vancouver ambassadors. This strategy is an outcome of the Rethink planning process and ensuing Tourism Master Plan - a community and industry-wide tourism planning and visioning process led by Tourism Vancouver.

Bob Lindsay, chair of Tourism Vancouver's board of directors noted, "We see the new Visitor Centre as Vancouver's ‘welcome lounge' and an important gateway for British Columbia". It is one initiative towards ensuring visitors have a spectacular Vancouver experience and become new advocates who will promote our destination to their own friends, family and colleauges."
Renovations to the centre have also made way for the addition of a new Rogue restaurant that opened in late July. Rogue, part of the Vancouver-based Steamworks Group of Companies, took over approximately 4,000 square feet in addition to patio space on the west side of Waterfront Centre.

In 2012, Tourism Vancouver's Visitor Centre directly assisted over 86,000 visitor parties and sold more than $2.4 million in tourism products. The centre is staffed by 22 Visitor Experience Specialists and 200 volunteers who collectively speak 20 languages, and range in age from 18 to 80.

Tourism Vancouver's Visitor Centre and Tickets Tonight outlet at 200 Burrard Street are now open daily between 8:30 am. and 6:00 pm. Throughout the summer, Tourism Vancouver will also continue to offer the Experience Vancouver service at the Infodesk in the Vancouver Convention Centre's East Building (8:30 am. to 5:00 pm. daily) and at the kiosk on Robson Street (10:00 pm. to 6:00 pm. daily). In addition, Tourism Vancouver's friendly roving City Host volunteers continue to greet and assist visitors around Waterfront Station, Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and Coal Harbour.

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