A visitor center or centre (see American and British English spelling differences), visitor information center, tourist information center, is a physical location that provides tourist information to visitors. It may be:
Visitor centers used to provide fairly basic information about the place, corporation or event they are celebrating, acting more as the entry way to a place. The role of the visitor center has been rapidly evolving over the past 10 years to become more of an experience and to tell the story of the place or brand it represents. Many have become destinations and experiences in their own right.
In the United Kingdom, there is a nationwide network of Tourist Information Centres run by the British Tourist Authority (BTA), represented online by the VisitBritain website and public relations organisation. Other TICs are run by local authorities or through private organisations such as local shops in association with BTA.
In Poland there are special offices and tables giving free information about tourist attractions. Offices are situated in interesting places in popular tourists' destinations and tables usually stay near monuments and important culture
In North America, a welcome center is a rest area with a visitor center, located after the entrance from one state or province to another state or province or in some cases another country, usually along an Interstate Highway or other freeway. These information centers are operated by the state they are located in. The first example opened on 4 May 1935, next to US 12 in New Buffalo, Michigan, near the Indiana state line.
Many U.S. cities, such as Houston, Texas and Boca Raton, Florida, as well as counties and other areas smaller than states, also operate welcome centers, though usually with less facilities than state centers have.
Peru features Iperú, Tourist Information and Assistance, a free service that provides tourist information for domestic and foreign travelers, the information covers destinations, attractions, recommended routes and licensed tourism companies in Peru. It also provides assistance on various procedures or where tourists have problems of various kinds. Iperú receives complaints and suggestions for destinations and tourism companies operating in Peru (lodging, travel agencies, airlines, buses, etc.).
Iperú, Tourist Information and Assistance has a nationwide network represented online by the Peru.travel website, the 24/7 line (51 1) 5748000, and 31 local offices in 13 regions in all over Peru: Lima-Callao, Amazonas, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ancash, Arequipa, Tacna, Puno, Ayacucho, Cusco, Tumbes and Iquitos.
The official tourist organization or national tourist board of Peru is PromPerú, a national organization that promotes both tourism and international commerce of this country worldwide.
In Australia, most visitor centres are local or state government-run, or in some cases as an association of tourism operators on behalf of the government, usually managed by a board or executive. Those that comply with a national accreditation programme use the italic "i" as pictured above. These visitor information centres (often abbreviated as VICs) provide information on the local area, and usually perform services such as accommodation and tour bookings, flight/bus/train/hire car options, and act as the first point of contact a visitor has with the town or region.