Travellers frequently need information about places to visit, restaurants, or places to stay in the country they have come to. Sometimes, when visiting well-known sites in a city, they want to buy a souvenir or a local product. The staff at tourist centres are always ready to offer services, such as providing information and souvenirs. However, is it the main role of tourist centres just to provide information for visitors?
Lithuanian tourist centres: generators of travel ideas
Many people think that the work of tourist centres is only about providing information and selling souvenirs, but these are just a few of the functions they perform. The main purpose of tourist centres is to attract visitors to their area. This entails various projects, not only to attract tourists, but also to bring the area together, by involving the local community, artists and public figures.
Local initiatives often turn into joint projects bringing together several areas, or even the whole of Lithuania. Many people are probably already familiar with joint projects such as the ‘U3’ kayak trip on the River Šventoji, or the ‘Collect Lithuania’, which included the whole country. Ideas like this encourage people to go on trips that help them learn more about their country.
Thus, a tourist centre is more than just a place to find a leaflet or a souvenir: it is a place that generates ideas for tourism.
More than just a place to find information
As well as planning tourism routes and developing projects, tourist centres willingly get involved in initiatives taken by the community, society or guides, contributing to their implementation, publicity and promotion. Often, instead of just providing the information they have, they refer visitors to people who can provide more specific or in-depth information, and even share personal experience that might be helpful. It is worth mentioning that information is provided not only about a particular object of interest, but also about a whole town, and even the region, in several languages, if necessary.
According to Aušra, who works as a guide, after applying to a Lithuanian tourist centre about a project, the staff not only gladly shared the information they had, but also went out to take a photograph of the relevant site. Aušra herself travels a lot, not only for her work, but because, as she admits herself, she is fascinated by the idea of travelling all around Lithuania. Therefore, she often has to visit a tourist centre to find out about places of interest and learn about the country’s history. She tells how she thought she had already visited everything there was to visit in some cities, but after a long search and much effort, the staff at the centre found a place worth visiting. In Aušra’s words: ‘Perhaps I haven’t visited all the places indicated, but I got involved in the desire to help, and we were able to discuss it.’ Often in a tourist centre, the visitor obtains not only information about an object or a route of interest, but also has a conversation, a pleasant exchange, and sometimes receives a much-needed smile.
The article has been prepared in the framework of the project “Innovative LTICA” funded by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology.