2 New Visitor Centers Come To The QCA - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

2 New Visitor Centers Come To The QCA

Updated: April 1, 2012 05:17 PM

The welcome center on a bluff of interstate 80 in Le Claire closed at the end of last year. There were fewer visitors and board members say it costs too much to operate. But the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors bureau sees the opposite. The bureau is opening new visitor centers in the area to make up for losses like these.

One of the new visitors center is just about 20 miles out of Davenport, and it's our most western entry point into the QCA. The center opened today at the I-80 Truck Museum, just next to the "Worlds Largest Truck stop." The museum alone see's about 13,000 visitors a year and the visitor's center is hoping to attract those people to come stay in our area.

 "This is an excellent stopping point, as the western entrance into the quad cities region. It just makes complete sense to be out here," says Margo McInnis, Vice President of Visitor Services with the QCVCB.

But some ask why set up shop in such a small town? Walcott, Iowa has a population of just 1,600, but on any given day over 1,000 visitors stop in the small town. That's because it is home to the giant truck stop, which sees over 500,000 visitors a year.

"It's important to be everywhere, as far as I'm concerned you need to be, this is the western point, so why Walcott, why not Walcott? This is where the truck stop is, the worlds largest truck stop, which sees about 500,000 people a year. That is phenomenal, and we want to take advantage of touching those people or as many people as we can," said McInnis.

She says this will be great recognition for the quad cities, as well as for the stores, restaurants, and hotels that stock their brochures there.

"We're going to have some really, really good representation here and to really get people aware of what the quad cities have to offer so they don't just zip through Iowa-80 or I-280," said McInnis.

With the opening of the I-80 center Sunday and the Rock Island center opening Monday, she tells us the Quad Cities are growing, more visitors travel here, and it's time to recognize the entire QC Area.

"The Quad Cities aren't just Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline anymore. It's about all of the towns surrounding it and Walcott is one of those towns," said McInnis.

The Quad Cities Visitors and Convention center in Rock Island will open at 10 Monday morning. The bureau also plans to launch a quad cities gifts website within the next month.