April 28, 2005
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

Government extends operating season of provincial Visitor Information Centres

Paul Shelley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and Minister responsible for Labrador Affairs, today announced that, further to a commitment made in Budget 2005, government will extend the operating season for provincially operated Visitor Information Centres (VICs). Operating seasons will vary by centre based on strategic location and visitor volumes, with the first centre to open at Port aux Basques on Wednesday, May 4.

"Visitor Information Centres provide an important tourism information and counseling service to travelers, both from within and outside the province, with approximately 130,000 tourists accessing information each year," said Minister Shelley. "Our investment in this area will encourage tourism activity outside the traditional summer months, providing economic benefit for all regions of the province."

Government operates seven visitor information centres: Argentia, Clarenville, Deer Lake, North Sydney, Notre Dame Junction, Port aux Basques and Whitbourne. Provincially operated VICs are strategically located throughout the province, at the ferry gateways and at major transportation intersections such as Deer Lake. Operating hours at the various centres vary due to demand and traffic patterns, and ferry arrivals. Generally, however, most are open for the period of 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the summer season.

Operating seasons for all centres will be extended this year:

Argentia and Clarenville - The primary function of the Argentia VIC is to service inbound Marine Atlantic passengers, while the Clarenville VIC serves traffic traveling to the Bonavista Peninsula. Both centres will open on May 18 and will remain open until September 27.

Deer Lake, North Sydney and Whitbourne - Based on the strategic location of these centres and previous visitor volumes, these centres will open on May 11 and will remain open until October 4.

Notre Dame - Recognizing the geographic position relative to iceberg viewing in the spring, the Notre Dame VIC will open on May 11 and will remain open until September 27.

Port aux Basques - The province�s largest VIC, the Port aux Basques VIC is the major gateway VIC for the province. The centre will open on May 4 and will remain open until October 11, providing a service for inbound early tourists and later fall visitors.

Media contact: Tansy Mundon, Communications, (709) 729-0928, 685-1741.

2005 04 28                                     11:40 a.m.

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