Newly funded agency expects location will draw 200,000 visitors

[caption id="attachment_27321" align="alignright" width="346" caption="The Destination Council will locate in the Napa Riverfront development and plans to open there Feb. 1."][/caption]

NAPA – The Napa Valley Destination Council announced the relocation of its Visitor Information Center from 1310 Napa Town Center to 600 Main St. in the new Riverfront complex with a projected opening date of Feb. 1, 2011.

“The new site is easily accessible by guests coming to Napa from the Bay Area allowing us to create a launching pad for the Napa Valley experience,” said Clay Gregory, president and chief executive officer of the Napa Valley Destination Council. “Our goal is to make it a must-stop visitor center that enhances the image and identity of Napa Valley as America’s legendary wine, food, arts and wellness capital.

“With the new center, we have the opportunity to design a Legendary Napa Valley brand showcase, with a look and feel that creates an ideal experience, and one that will become a great drawing factor for all concerned.  And for the convenience of our visitors, ample parking is available at the Fifth Street garage across the street.”

Last year, the Napa Valley Visitor Information Center logged more than 140,000 visitors, a figure expected to exceed 200,000 after the move.

Until recently, the visitor center has been operating with up to 80 volunteers and two part-time staffers. After the relocation, Mr. Gregory said they plan to hire a full-time manager and other staff members to augment the volunteer force.

Mr. Gregory, formerly with Jackson Family Wines, has been with the Destination Council for 15 months.

The Napa Valley Destination Council has an annual budget of $2.5 million derived from a 2 percent assessment on lodging within the Tourism Improvement District (TID).

The new district, established in June 2010, generates funds exclusively for the Destination Council’s marketing activities and for local marketing funds in Napa County’s individual townships.  The TID assessment is separate from the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) that generates revenue for the county general fund.

“The local hotel room fill rate is up 11 percent over last September, but we still have not returned to the levels achieved prior to 2008. Our main focus is to market off-peak winter and mid-week overnight stays to the high-value, low-impact traveler,” Mr. Gregory said.

“The new Visitor Information Center is one key pillar in our marketing strategy, and we’re very excited about the benefits our activities will bring to the whole county,” he said.

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