Our Chamber of Commerce-run Visitor Center serves a very important role in our community, as does the Visitor Bureau! Let's talk about the difference between the two.

The Visitor Center is located within our Chamber of Commerce offices at 1001 Front St. above the Cultural Center. We serve over 18,000 people who actually walk through our doors with questions about what to do and see in our community. People want to know where to eat, where to stay, and what are some of our best hiking trails and of course, where is the tallest redwood tree. Along with people coming into the center, our phones ring continually throughout the day with people asking everything from what is today's weather to where to find bigfoot.

In addition, our Visitor Center serves the important function of

sending out relocation packages and visitor packets to those who are

interested in moving here, or coming to visit. In fact, we send out

close to 5,000 of these each year.

Our Visitor Center includes a retail store that has a variety of

items that best represent our area, including beautiful burl and redwood

art gifts along with souvenirs, post cards, posters, and books. You can

find framed photographs, coffee mugs, stainless steel water bottles and

other memorabilia customized to our area. We have videos and staff to

help showcase our pristine, natural beauty to our visitors.

The center has two part-time employees and over 20 volunteers.

Without our volunteers and dedicated staff, we would not be able to help

direct the thousands of tourists we see yearly. Our offices are open

Monday through Friday during the winter and seven days a week during the

summer months. Bottom line, we are here when the visitors are and

provide them crucial information that they can find no where else.

Now, let's talk about the Visitor Bureau. The Visitor Bureau focuses

on marketing our area. The Visitor Bureau's main job is to promote

Crescent City and Del Norte County outside of our region to the "next

new visitor." An example of this would be the ads you may have seen in

Sunset or VIA magazines. These ads actually contain a "return card"

which readers send in requesting more information. Guess who receives

these return cards? The Visitor Center! We then send out a visitor

packet to the person requesting the information. This is one of the ways

the Visitor Center and the Visitor Bureau work together. The Visitor

Bureau places and pays for the advertising, and we at the Visitor Center

process the requests.

The Visitor Bureau consists of an executive director, Bob Berkowitz,

and committee members who oversee the actions of the executive director.

The committee members are derived from various organizations in our

community, such as, the city, the county, Redwood State and National

Parks, Tri Agency Economic Development and the Chamber.

The Visitor Center works to take care of our visitors before and

after they arrive, and the Visitor Bureau works to attract the next new

visitor to our area.

Gina Zottola is executive director of the Crescent Cityandndash;Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce.