Torrance unveiled the city’s first welcome center Thursday, June 17, at Del Amo Fashion Center — making it the 18th in the state under the banner of Visit California, a statewide tourism bureau.

Mayor Pat Furey was flanked by myriad city officials, business owners and representatives, all of them excited by both the visitors kiosk, with its brochures and information about local attractions, and what the welcome center represents.

The new California Welcome Center by Discover Torrance, Furey said, came at just the right time, with the country and the region reopening after more than a year of coronavirus-induced restrictions. That spirit circulated among the mall on Thursday as shoppers strode past and members of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce mingled about, many excited to see familiar faces again.

“With tourism and hospitality industries hit so hard by the pandemic, the timing couldn’t be better,” Furey said, “for us to open this center to welcome back visitors to the city of Torrance, to encourage them to stay overnight in our hotels, shop at our stores and dine in our restaurants and learn more about additional travel throughout the great state of California.”

The motto, Furey said, would be “Welcome to California, Discover Torrance and shop at Del Amo.”

The welcome center is located inside the mall’s main entrance near the AMC Theater. The rounded desk is staffed by employees for Discover Torrance, the city’s tourism bureau, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Brochures, magazines, local discount coupons, and interactive maps with attractions and insider tips — including a map of local breweries — are all available to anyone who approaches.

Funding for the welcome center comes from transient occupancy taxes, also known as bed taxes, paid by guests at hotels.

The unveiling Thursday capped an effort put into motion more than two years ago by the City Council and Discover Torrance.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Furey said.

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