Visitor Information Center contracts evaluated

300-VIC-PROM-HCNHistoric City News readers will have an opportunity to comment on the agreements for visitor information services between St Johns County and the two officially designated contractors; both are scheduled to expire on September 30, 2013.

The contracts with the Ponte Vedra Division of the consolidated St Johns County Chamber of Commerce, and the City of St Augustine, will be reviewed by the Tourist Development Council during its regular meeting on Monday afternoon.

According to Glenn Hastings, Executive Director of the Tourist Development Council, revisions to the agreements include term date changes and updates to the “Scope of Services”.

Draft contracts were sent to the City and Chamber for their review and comments.

Proposed is for the county to pay the Chamber of Commerce $80,000 yearly and the City of St Augustine $160,000 yearly. Substantially, the Ponte Vedra Beach Visitor Center is a source for the County to distribute literature through racks. The agreement with the City is more complex.

The County has access to visitors, inside the St Augustine Visitor Information Center, for the purpose of obtaining tourism research and marketing information and the City will provide viewing areas inside the Visitor Information Center and the Historic Downtown Parking Facility for County sponsored and produced promotional videos, to distribute County produced maps, and other visitor services, or promotional materials, at no additional costs to the County. The City will provide a Concierge Desk with tourism information of a county-wide nature, encouraging visitors to stay longer.

The City will develop a plan, in cooperation with the county, to provide on-the-street hosts on an annual average of four days per week dressed in period costume throughout primary tourist areas within the City’s Historic Preservation District for the purpose of greeting visitors and providing visitor information.

The City will implement a “secret shopper” program to assure accurate, positive and fair information is provided to visitors and to share the results with the Tourist Development Council. They are to provide adequate staffing for the Visitor Information Center and hosts programs consisting of at least two full-time employees and sixteen part-time employees. The City will develop and conduct an ongoing hospitality training program for its employees and a certification program requiring completion and testing. The County must approve the curriculum, and the City must report annually to the St Johns County Tourist Development Council on the operations of its Visitor Information Center and hosts program. The City will provide free parking for commercial and school tour buses at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility.

If you plan to attend, the meeting of the St Johns County Tourist Development Council will be held on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. in the County Auditorium at the St Johns County Administrative Palace located at 500 San Sebastian View in St Augustine. The meeting is open to the public and public comments may be made in accordance with the agenda.

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