Michel Nolan, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/27/2013 11:24:53 AM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO — Continuing the domino effect of the city’s insolvency, the California Welcome Center Inland Empire and San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau are closing their doors, citing lack of funds.

To many, the Welcome Center and Convention and Visitors Bureau were the last positive faces San Bernardino showed the world.

The Welcome Center is a state-franchised tourism information hub that offers visitors information about the Inland Empire. The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has produced the now-defunct Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous. Both have created awareness of the city all over the world.

The Rendezvous, a 23-year San Bernardino tradition and the largest car show on the West Coast, was suspended for 2013 by the Convention and Visitors Bureau in February because of financial difficulties.

Barbara Daugherty, director of business operations for the visitors bureau and general manager of the welcome center, said the reality was they ran out of money.

“The hardest part of this is we were the last bastion of putting a positive face on San Bernardino,” Daugherty said. “I feel so badly for San Bernardino and its residents, as well as the visitors we’ve had an opportunity to help. ”

Jim Gerstenslager, board chairman of the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau, said keeping the nonprofit running has been a hard road to hoe.

“Financially, we just couldn’t do it. The fact is, for the last five years, the city has put in a considerable amount of money,” Gerstenslager said.

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