The Karlovy Vary City INFORMATION CENTRE (“INFOCENTRUM MĚSTA Karlovy Vary”) was established in 2001 by the City of Karlovy Vary as a “public service company”. In 2023, the company was transformed into a different type of legal entity, into the non-profit non-governmental organisation known as an “institution”, which has been the successor of public service companies since 2014 and is encoded in Sections 402-418 of Act No. 89/2012 Coll., the New Civil Code (hereinafter the "NCC"). According to Section 402 of the NCC, an institution is a legal entity that is established for the purpose of carrying out activities that are socially or economically useful using its personnel and assets to do so. The institution carries out activities that are equally accessible under conditions that are given in advance.
According to Section 403 of Act No. 89/2012 Coll., the NCC, the INFORMATION CENTRE also performs side activities (complementary services), the operation of which does not affect the quality, scope, and availability of services provided within the main activity of the institution. Any profit is used to support the activities it was established for and to cover the costs of its management.
The basic goals of the INFORMATION CENTRE are:
- To increase the prestige of Karlovy Vary as a significant spa town and as one of the locations included in the Great Spa Towns of Europe transnational series UNESCO World Heritage Site;
- To disseminate information about Karlovy Vary and its offer of services, including the option of congress tourism;
- To contribute to the sustainability of tourism in Karlovy Vary;
- To increase the average duration of visitors’ stays and the number of spa guests;
- To increase the awareness of the citizens of Karlovy Vary and their connection to the spa industry and tourism.
The services provided by the Information Centre can be divided into the categories of public services and complementary services. Public services are provided to all customers under the same conditions and, to a great extent, free of charge, as a service supporting the expansion of tourism and the spa industry not only in Karlovy Vary, but also within the entire Czech tourism sector. The Public Services offered include the following activities:
- The promotion of the city of Karlovy Vary as a destination;
- The collection and the provision of information about Karlovy Vary and its surroundings to visitors, the press, state administration authorities, and partners in tourism, including providing photographs and texts about Karlovy Vary to the media and to professionals in the tourism sector;
- The development and the operations of the regional visitor’s card, the Karlovy Vary Region Card, serving to support visits to tourist destinations and attractions in the Karlovy Vary Region; the card serves as a ticket to historical monuments, museums, galleries, and other tourist attractions, as well as a discount card and transport ticket in Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně;
- The operation and updating of information on the tourist information portal of Karlovy Vary - www.karlovyvary.cz;
- The operation of municipal libraries; the organisation of lectures, author's readings, exhibitions, and other events
- The operation of the Castle Tower cultural historical monument and curating the UNESCO exhibition that is installed in this monument
- The contribution to the maintenance and financing of the information system for pedestrians in the city;
- The publishing of printed materials with information on the city and promoting the city of Karlovy Vary and its surroundings;
- The processing and publishing of statistics on the spa industry and tourism in Karlovy Vary;
- The organisation of cultural and social events in the city, such as “VARY září” (SHINING VARY), the Karlovy Vary Cultural Summer, and others.
The Information Centre provides complementary services in order to make economical use of its capacities, given both by its strategic location in the centre of Karlovy Vary, as well as by its personnel and technical equipment. These services are provided on the basis of trade licenses and for payment (market price of the service) at the usual time and place. These are primarily the following services, which are provided at the Information Centre branches:
- Provision of tourism services - guides, advance ticket sales;
- Arranging accommodation;
- Operation of the café in the Castle Tower
- Retail sale of souvenirs, tourist information materials, maps, postcards, printed guides, postage stamps;