Three Redesigns of Key Tourist Destinations – Bolstering Growth for Ontario and the Inland Empire
Ontario, Calif. – As an industrial and manufacturing hub, Ontario, Calif. may not strike visitors as an upscale, modern destination. But the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau (GOCVB) wants to change that. The GOCVB has modernized and rebranded the visitor experience by teaming with HMC Architects to redesign three key tourist destinations: the California Welcome Center at Ontario Mills, the Ontario International Airport Welcome Centers, and the Ontario Convention Center café.
“The completely new California Welcome Center sets an upscale tone for visitors arriving at Ontario Mills, and it supports the GOCVB’s vision to attract tourists to meet, explore, and connect in tomorrow’s West,” said Kyle Peterson, principal at HMC Architects. “Ontario has so much to offer when it comes to outdoor adventures, entertainment, and proximity to Southern California’s prime destinations, and we want the visitor experience to reflect that spirit.”
In addition to the large influx of tourists, the Inland Empire is expected to experience population growth. According to The Press Enterprise, “A report by the United States Conference of Mayors found that the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area is expected to grow from 4.5 million to 7.2 million people in the next 30 years — making it one of the top 10 largest metro areas by 2046.”
The new California Welcome Center at the Ontario Mills shopping mall gives tourists an entirely refreshed, evolved destination that aligns with today’s tech-savvy visitors while also exuding the essence of the local region. Each year, Ontario Mills welcomes more tourists than Disneyland, and many of these visitors arrive via tour bus. Easy to find, the new Welcome Center is located near the bus drop-off zone. Inside, visitors can discover their next adventure where digital screens and four interactive kiosks are available to book hotels, buy and print theme park tickets, and explore dining options. Faux tree trunks, rocks, and etched glass evoke the Inland Empire’s flora and fauna, and TVs, Wi-Fi, and workstations give today’s visitors routes to stay connected.
For visitors flying into Ontario, the Ontario International Airport (ONT) shapes their first view of the region. Currently, each terminal has an Ontario Welcome Center, an information area that provides valuable travel resources, but that is easily overlooked by passersby. HMC’s modern, upscale design overhaul brings in native Inland Empire materials and bright signage to make the Welcome Centers stand out and pop, encouraging more visitors to stop and learn about the region’s offerings.
Originally opened in 1998 and host to trade shows and filmmakers from all over the world, the Ontario Convention Center has always lacked in one area— a concession stand offering grab and go items. That’s all changing with the addition of a café and outdoor courtyard designed by HMC. The recently opened Café Connect serves coffee, sandwiches, beer, wine, and grab and go foods, and incorporates a modern aesthetic that aligns with the vibe at the California Welcome Center and the Ontario International Airport Welcome Centers. An outdoor courtyard with fire pits and comfortable lounge seating gives convention attendees an area to relax, eat, and enjoy some fresh air.
First impressions are everything, and the Greater Ontario Convention Center & Visitors Bureau is redefining that moment when a visitor arrives in Ontario for the first time. By partnering with HMC Architects, they’re modernizing Ontario’s popular tourist hot spots and updating the perception of Ontario and the Inland Empire as a vibrant, growing region that’s ripe for visitors.
About HMC: HMC Architects is a healthcare, education, and civic architecture firm with a sustainable approach to design. Founded in 1940, HMC creates high-performance architecture and interior design solutions that not only wow and withstand, but also enrich people’s lives and serve the greater good. Today, HMC has seven offices in California, one in Reno, NV and another in Phoenix, AZ. To learn more or become part of our story, visit hmcarchitects.com.