Visitor centers thrive in first year under LTVA management
Today marks the one-year anniversary of when the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority assumed responsibility for the three South Shore visitor centers.
And what a year it has been, said Sue Barton, director of information services for the LTVA. The move involved major changes in how to present Tahoe to would-be visitors. There have been few obstacles and many success stories, Barton said.
To give the anniversary some perspective: Before the change, the LTVA had been responsible for destination marketing of Lake Tahoe’s South Shore. The Chamber of Commerce ran the visitor centers and provided hands-on local information to visitors.
With last year’s merger of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and the Tahoe Douglas Chamber, it was decided that the LTVA would take on the responsibility of running the visitor centers – the Nevada center at 169 Highway 50, directly across from Lakeside Inn and Casino; the California center at 3066 Lake Tahoe Blvd., across the street from the Tahoe Daily Tribune; and the multi-agency cooperative center in Meyers.
“For me, it was very pleasing. Up until that point, the LTVA didn’t have any direct contact with visitors we invited to Lake Tahoe,” Barton said. “We reached out and invited them here, but once they arrived, we didn’t have any contact with them.”
The LTVA helped close the information circle that was left open, Barton said. Visitors are greeted inside the centers by up to 14 information specialists, depending on the season.
Visitors are encouraged to check out all of Tahoe’s recreational offerings during their stay, and they can get the information either in person or through a number display boards and kiosks.
For the coming year, Barton said the centers will continue to refine the information it offers to visitors. Over the past 365 days, 79,426 people visited the three centers.
“We’ve discovered that visitors want more information on hiking trails. So, in cooperation with the Forest Service, we’re making more available,” Barton said.
Something else worth noting is the LTVA Web site, http://www.bluelaketahoe.com. People can use their own computers or computer kiosks located at the visitor centers to book reservations online.
Barton described the visitor centers as an ongoing, evolving adventure.
“For me, it’s been exciting, because finally we have the direct connection with the visitor,” she said.