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Visitors Center catering to short-term parking market
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Giving Manteca businesses a chance to cash in on 4 million visitors a year in Manteca is what the Manteca Visitors Center is all about.

But it is message that isn’t getting across to some in the business community.

“We want more businesses to make use of our services that don’t cost anything,” noted Manteca Visitors Center marketing representative Suzanne Clemens.

One way the center helps business for free is through its dining guides that it distributes in Manteca hotels, at events and at locations such as Bass Pro Shops. It doesn’t cost to have a restaurant listed nor does the guide cost visitors. The Manteca Visitors Center strives to list all available food options by type of food.

“Everyone has to eat,” Clemens said. “Most visitors aren’t familiar with restaurants in Manteca.”

And while Red Robin across from Bass Pro and Chili’s near Big League Dreams - the top two visitors attractions in Manteca - are visible to out-of-town guests most dining options in Manteca aren’t. That’s where the Manteca Visitors Center comes in.

Their restaurant guides have been credited with directing soccer teams to Applebee’s and the bowling alley as well as to pizza places with meeting rooms where teams can dine together. The guides are often included in visitors’ packets in which the center will place coupons for restaurants and other businesses catering to visitors.

The Manteca Visitors Center is doubling up on efforts to educate the business community on what it has to offer them plus to emphasize the potential that exists in going after visitors’ dollars.

One of the biggest obstacles they have to overcome is to make businesses understand there is a difference between the Manteca Visitors Center and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

“We have two separate missions,” noted Visitors Center Chief Executive Officer Juliene Flanders. “Think of it as parking.”

Flanders notes the chamber caters to “long-term parking” or the people who live in Manteca while the Visitors Center caters to “short-term parking” or visitors who are here for brief stays and then leave.

If Manteca businesses can snag more business dollars, then the Manteca Visitors Center is doing its job.

The Visitors Center is funded in part by 20 percent of the room tax collected in Manteca. For 2011, that came to $77,935. Not only does the center staff work to increase visitors’ spending at retail, restaurants and amusements in Manteca but it also works to fill hotel rooms. That one-two combo generates more sales tax and more hotel room tax critical to the municipal general fund.

The city’s annual investment in the center also is designed to also help the private sector economy when it comes to jobs and keeping business healthy.

For more information on the Manteca Visitors Center go to