Local tourism programs to receive public-private marketing funds to bolster growth

Local tourism programs to receive public-private marketing funds to bolster growth

January 31, 2019

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $625,000 in matching grant funds to be awarded to 33 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP). 

The Martinsville-Henry County Tourism office received a $5,000 grant for its program "How Can We Help You?" 

The MLP grant funding is designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of state grants funds. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $2.1 million to match the VTC grants, providing nearly $2.7 million in new marketing funds to increase visitation to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact more than 135 other statewide tourism entities.

“Virginia tourism is a crucial sector of our economy and when we invest in this industry, we support local job creation and drive regional economic growth,” said Governor Northam. “The Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program gives localities and businesses access to critical marketing resources that will help bring more travelers to our Commonwealth, increase visitor spending, and grow demand for Virginia products.”

This grant enables localities to broaden their marketing scope and stimulate new tourism marketing programs that otherwise may not have been possible without this program. Communities and destinations across the Commonwealth understand the importance of creating innovative marketing initiatives to attract travelers from all over the world to discover for themselves why “Virginia is for Lovers.”

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships, and extending the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand. A minimum of three Virginia entities must partner financially to apply for a grant. Partners may consist of Virginia cities, towns, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other tourism-related businesses. In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually—matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars.

“The Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing programs across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Tourism is an important part of Virginia’s economy as it adds to our economic diversity and is an instant revenue generator. In 2017, tourism injected $25 billion into the Virginia economy and provided 232,000 jobs. The Marketing Leverage Grant helps leverage limited marketing dollars to increase visitor spending and encourages public-private partnership opportunities.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants are will open on April 2, 2019, with a June 25, 2019 deadline. Localities interested in applying may visit www.vatc.org for more information.

A full list of Marketing Leverage Program grant recipients can be found below.

Program Name Lead Partner Award Amount 
2019 Mount Rogers Naturalist Rallies and Summer Camps Blue Ridge Discovery Center $3,145
43rd Annual Norfolk Harborfest (2019) Norfolk Festevents, Ltd. $12,500
Be a Trailsetter in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Virginia’s Blue Ridge $25,000
Beerwerks Untappd Augusta County $50,000
Birthplace of Country Music – Marketing Campaign for Marty Stuart Special Exhibit Birthplace of Country Music $12,500
Bristol: Sounds Good Marketing Campaign Discover Bristol $20,000
Come Together! Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, Inc. $5,000
Connect Virginia Highlands Festival $21,783
Curating Killer Content Rockbridge Area Tourism $18,500
Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretive Center Scott County Economic Development Authority $50,000
D-Day 75th 2019 National D-Day Memorial Foundation $8,627.50
Destination Bedford New Brand Marketing Launch Bedford Tourism and Welcome Center $42,000
Destination Wytheville: Experience Premier Outdoor Recreation Wytheville Convention and Visitors Bureau $25,000
Discover Cape Charles: Virginia’s Cape Cape Charles Main Street, Inc. $5,000
Discover Virginia’s Middle Peninsula Middle Peninsula Alliance $3,750
Fiddle, Art, & Stroll Chestnut Creek School of the Arts $4,997
Find Your Way to Play: Abingdon’s Destination Guide Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau  $13,983
 Float through History in the Northern Neck Northern Neck Tourism Commission $5,000
Formed by Utrip. Fun for Visitors. That’s Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission $25,000
Hanover Tourism Initiative Center of the Universe Brewing Co. $3,725
How Can We Help You? Martinsville/Henry County Tourism $5,000
Mountains of Music Loud and Clear: Maximizing Opportunities through Partner Relationships The Crooked Road $25,000
PPTF 2019 VTC Marketing Campaign Petersburg Preservation Task Force $25,000
Slinging Dirt and Burning Up Roads Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority $25,000
Smith Mountain Lake Brand and Marketing Launch Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce $13,866
Step Into Blacksburg Phase 2 Website Expansion The Blacksburg Partnership $5,002
Tall Ship Providence Visit Alexandria $50,000
The Richmond International Film & Music Festival The Richmond International Film & Music Festival $6,250
This is Our Rush Hour Goes Digital Shenandoah County $50,000
 Toast the Coast: Beer, Wine & Shine Trail Newport News Tourism $5,000
Virginia Capital Trail Weekend Getaway Marketing Campaign Virginia Capital Trail Foundation $5,000
Virginia is Your Spring Destination for the Arts Virginia Arts Festival $50,000
 What Will You Put IN, in St. Paul? Town of St. Paul $5,000




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