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Visitor Information & Interpretation

Effective pre-trip and en-route visitor information and interpretation can have a significant impact on destination choice, length of stay and expenditure. Today, online information and promotion are the primary means for visitors seeking trip planning information. Traditional information dissemination techniques such as brochures, trade shows and TV / radio advertising are also used as sources of information for pre-trip planning. Read more
Effective pre-trip and en-route visitor information and interpretation can have a significant impact on destination choice, length of stay and expenditure. Today, online information and promotion are the primary means for visitors seeking trip planning information. Traditional information dissemination techniques such as brochures, trade shows and TV / radio advertising are also used as sources of information for pre-trip planning. Please refer to the section on ‘Destination Marketing for further information.

Research in Australia has shown that effective visitor information centres (VICs) can have a direct influence on visitor planning and decision-making, with survey research showing that 33 percent of respondents were influenced to participate in more activities after visiting a VIC. Visitor information centres are important in providing visitors with the information and trip planning services they require pre-trip, while they are en-route, or during their visit. Research into the effective planning and development of visitor information services provided by VICs has shown that:

Destination Management Tip

Establishing effective management and operational models for Visitor Information Centres is important in ensuring the delivery of appropriate visitor information in a destination. The STCRC VICKit can assist.

  • Visitor satisfaction and information provision by visitor information centres can have a significant influence on a visitor’s length of stay, expenditure and repeat visitation;
  • For the effective provision of information, visitor information centres must be able to handle peaks of visitors and communicate information effectively;
  • Information provided in VICs should be targeted and specific but presented in a usable way, as displayed by Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism which provides targeted publications for Conferences, Weddings and International Travel Planning;
  • Visitor information centre staff need to be trained in customer service skills as well as strategies for communicating and promoting a region’s products and services;
  • Some visitor information centres have been late adopters of ICT technologies for the dissemination of visitor information however the increased use of these technologies can provide a more efficient means of disseminating information to a visitor, such as the Launceston and the Tamar Valley website which provides visitor information and online-booking capabilities;
  • Some visitor information centres have become an attraction in their own right with the displays and interpretive facilities they provide, thus attracting and retaining more visitors in the region, as demonstrated by South Australia’s Wadlata Outback Centre’s development as a world class VIC and interpretive centre;
  • Interpretation of tourism products and experiences, through brochures, guided tours, interactive displays or interpretive information boards is an important part of providing a positive visitor experience as well as an education tool.

The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre has a number of research reports into the effective design and development of visitor information centres, the dissemination of information and the design of interpretation. STCRC has also developed an online ‘VICKit’ to support destinations to assess and improve visitor information centre performance as well as an ‘Interpretation Evaluation Tool Kit’.


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