Virginia tourism programs receiving nearly $1 million in grants

Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 4:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Nearly a million dollars will be going to local tourism initiatives throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of a grant program announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.


The grants are part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP) and are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and they will ultimately impact at least 159 other statewide tourism entities.

Through the MLP, local organizations must match state grant funds by a minimum of two to one to support marketing projects in order to receive funding. This funding cycle, local partners will match VTC grant dollars with more than $2.3 million, providing more than $3.2 million overall in new marketing efforts to increase visitation to Virginia.

“The grants offered by the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program provide tourism businesses with a powerful funding resource to market themselves to travelers both across the United States and internationally,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These funds provide localities and businesses across the Commonwealth with the necessary resources to continue to attract visitors and increase demand for Virginia products in the global marketplace. We will continue to support and expand our tourism outreach to spur growth for our communities and small businesses as we build the new Virginia economy.”


VTC’s 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 entities. In total, VTC awards approximately $1.9 million annually – matched and leveraged, on average, three to one by partner dollars.

“These grants are significant for the Virginia tourism industry, as more than 70 percent of tourism businesses have annual marketing budgets of less than $10,000,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Every dollar invested in these grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Additionally, marketing campaigns receiving MLP grant funds increased visitation by 15 percent. This kind of effective marketing results in more travelers coming to Virginia to stay longer and spend more money, injecting critical dollars into our economy.”


Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported 223,100 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes for the Commonwealth. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a five to one return in tax revenue for Virginia, and grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue. For more information on the Virginia tourism industry, please visit the link in the Related Links section.


The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants are now open and are due on November 30, 2016. Localities interested in applying may visit (clickable link provided in the Related Links) for more information.


For highlights from the Valley, look for 'A Bright New Day in Winchester,' 'Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail,' 'Story Telling in Virginia's Blue Ridge,' and 'This Is Our Rush Hour: Shenandoah County Marketing Campaign.'

The top line represents the Tourism Initiative, second line is the locaity/organization, and third line is the amount of the grant award:

• 2016 Norfolk Festevents Marketing

Norfolk Festevents, Ltd.

$ 50,000

• A Bright New Day in Winchester

Winchester-Frederick County Tourism

$ 48,134

• A New Path To Jefferson: Developing a Tourism Friendly Website for Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

$ 10,000

• Abingdon Arts in Profile

William King Museum of Art

$ 10,000

• America's Historic Triangle Welcomes American Revolution Museum At Yorktown

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.

$ 50,000

• artoberVA 2016


$ 18,340.50

• Brand USA 2016 Program for China and the UK

Arlington Convention and Visitors Service

$ 14,907

• Clarke County Fall Studio Tour

Clarke County Economic Development and Tourism

$ 5,000

• Coastal Virginia Social Media Marketing Campaign

Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance

$ 6,665

• Coastal Virginia: The Birthplace of American Cuisine

Professional Hospitality Resources, Inc.

$ 50,000

• Expanded Market Promotions for Mountains of Music Homecoming

The Crooked Road

$ 50,000

• Find it in Radford 2016

Radford Visitor's Center

$ 4,839

• From Freedom to Flowers: Bringing Visitors to Roanoke through the Art of Attraction

Taubman Museum of Art

$ 25,000

• Gather, Learn & Grow on Floyd's Blue Ridge Plateau

Festival Farm Productions LLC - Chantilly Farm

$ 5,000

• Giles County Outdoor Destination Campaign

Giles County Tourism

$ 21,177

• GO St Paul! Gathering Opportunity

Saint Paul Tomorrow

$ 3,738.50

• Go to Town! Tourism Brand Launch Campaign

Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office

$ 15,000

• Halifax County African American Heritage & Cultural Trail

Halifax County Department of Tourism

$ 2,250

• Halifax County Restaurant Week

Town of South Boston

$ 2,000

• Historic Downtown Wytheville: Gateway to Adventure

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

$ 50,000

• Let The Heart of Appalachia Call You Home

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority

$ 50,000

• Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway

$ 50,000

• Nottoway Visitor Packets

Downtown Blackstone, Inc.

$ 3,809

• Public Relations and Native Advertising Campaign 2

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau

$ 25,000

• PUSH! Film Festival Marketing Program

Believe in Bristol

$ 5,000

• Radio Bristol – Crooked Road Radio Program

Birthplace of Country Music

$ 10,000

• Richmond Region Outdoor Lifestyle Video

Richmond RegionTourism

$ 10,000

• Riverside Center is for Theater Lovers

Riverside Center for the Performing Arts

$ 10,000

• Roanoke Go Outside Festival

Roanoke Go Outside Festival

$ 6,750

• Seasonless Sensation: A Return to Abingdon

Barter Theatre

$ 10,000

• Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

Staunton CVB

$ 50,000

• Shocktober Takes Over October

Paxton Campus

$ 10,000

• Southwest Virginia Craft Beer Marketing Initiative

Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau

$ 10,000

• Southwest Virginia Wine Trail


$ 5,000

• Website

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

$ 23,926

• Story Telling in Virginia's Blue Ridge

Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

$ 50,000

• Summers in Pulaski

Town of Pulaski

$ 3,750

• This Is Our Rush Hour: Shenandoah County Marketing Campaign

Shendandoah County

$ 50,000

• Virginia Capital Trail Video Marketing

Virginia Capital Trail Foundation

$ 10,000

• Virginia is for "Opera" Lovers: Fall in Love with Opera AND Virginia

Virginia Opera

$ 50,000

• Virginia Wine and Brine

Chatham Vineyards

$ 21,000

• Virginia's Artisan and Oyster Trails - Responsive & Visible

Artisans Center of Virginia

$ 10,000

• Visit Mecklenburg Website Reimagining and Launch

Mecklenburg County Tourism Office

$ 10,500