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Contact: Anne Klein
  Phone: (970) 749-0991

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Durango Welcome Center Celebrates Three Years of Assisting Visitors

Locals, vacationers, and businesses benefit from downtown service

Durango, CO 
Whether you’re a tourist with questions about where to eat and what to see, a veteran local looking to stay up to speed on the town’s happenings or a Durango business intent on expanding and advertising, the Durango Welcome Center has something to offer everyone. A visit to a Colorado Welcome Center results in additional overnight stays, increased daytime activities, incremental spending, and more plans for future trips according to the Colorado Visitor Survey conducted by the Leeds School of Business. The impact of welcome centers was quantified in extended average visitation of 2.6 additional days and the associated extra dollars spent by tourists. These figures are only possible due to the friendly and knowledgeable faces and organizations that light up the Durango Welcome Center.
In June 2015, the Durango Welcome Center (DWC) will celebrate their third anniversary of assisting visitors who have come to Southwestern Colorado for their vacations, answering questions and giving tried-and-true suggestions for attractions, restaurants and lodging. The Center was built and is operated as a partnership between the Durango Business Improvement District (BID), Fort Lewis College and Community Concert Hall, the Durango Area Tourism Office (DATO), and the City of Durango, each of these entities playing an integral part in shaping the Center into its present success.
"BID invested heavily in the building and operations of the Durango Welcome Center and that investment continues to pay off," says Tim Walsworth, Executive Director of the Durango Business Improvement District. "Well over 100,000 people go through its doors annually and the staff does an excellent job of educating visitors about all the things to do in and around Durango. They refer people to our local businesses, shops, galleries, restaurants and amenities every minute of every day. BID is a proud partner in the Durango Welcome Center as it helps to fulfill our mission of serving businesses in Downtown and North Main Ave."
The original concept was to create a one-stop information and public service center in the heart of downtown Durango. In addition, the DWC is frequently used as a hospitality venue for hosting VIP’s, travel writers, and local celebrations. The DWC has superseded its original vision, extending beyond informing tourists to being used by locals as a hotspot for current knowldege of events and for ideas on how to entertain their visiting guests and relatives.
For three years the Durango Welcome Center has represented the best the area has to offer, highlighting the region’s variety of lodging properties, engaging tourism attractions and amenities, cutting-edge recreational facilities, and other relevant tourism-related businesses such as local shops, unique restaurants and breathtaking galleries. The Center’s staff members are all equipped with a special qualification that makes them perfect for the job: they are locals, pulling from first hand experience and expertise of the town they represent while providing directions, maps, brochures and traveler assistance with a smile.
If the mountain views and thriving town weren't enough to convince you that Fort Lewis College provides the best balance of education and destination, FLC students staff a comfortable hospitality area that provides information for potential students, promotes FLC athletic programs, welcomes alumni, and arranges campus tours. In addition to collegiate information, the Ticket Office for the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College is also located at the Center, providing a downtown outlet for tickets at various Durango venues in addition to the Hall's annual season line-up. "Moving our Ticket Office to the Welcome Center has proven to be a win-win for both the Concert Hall and community members," said Charles Leslie, Community Concert Hall Director. "The centralized location is convenient for our patrons and we have seen a steady rise in overall ticket sales since the Center opened. We're happy to be a partner in this collaborative effort."
The Durango Welcome Center offers public services for both locals and visitors including: a main information desk, public restrooms (ADA compliant), ATM, free Wi-Fi, cell phone charging, water fountain and water bottle refill, and a special event ticket sales counter. These varied and useful amenities have made the Welcome Center a staple of downtown Durango, partnering practicality and service with up-to-date town happenings and events. For convenience, a designated short-term event ticket purchase parking spot is provided on lower 8th Street at Main Avenue.
The number of Welcome Center visitors continues to rise every year. Since the Durango Welcome Center opened in 2012, the door count (counts the number of people who come into the facility) has gone from 102,000 in 2013 to 107,000 in 2014 and on track for continued growth in 2015.  "The DWC is a great example of collaborative effort by business, education and government,” says Bob Kunkel, Executive Director of the Durango Area Tourism Office, “and the big winners are our visitors and our community." 
Over the past three years, the Welcome Center has grown to be a valuable resource for the tourism industry and local communities. The center goes beyond welcoming, and encourages staying and playing for visitors and locals alike. We invite you to visit the Durango Welcome Center at 802 Main Avenue and discover Southwestern Colorado!
About the Durango Area Tourism Office
The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not for profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County’s multitude of tourism attractions, events and services.  1-800-525-8855,  
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