Governor McDonnell recently announced that the Virginia Tourism Commission (VTC) will award $635,000 in matching grants to 35 local tourism initiatives. The grants, which require a 3-to-1 match, will help local and regional entities attract visitors by leveraging local tourism marketing dollars.
Several designated Virginia Main Street (VMS) communities and their partners will receive grant funds. Some communities will use the funds to promote local festivals (Waynesboro – Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival and Winchester – 85th annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival). Others will promote driving trails (Harrisonburg & Luray – Shenandoah Music Trail), the Civil War (Farmville – Best Part of the Civil War – The End) and outdoor recreation (Harrisonburg, Staunton & Waynesboro – SVTA Outdoor Recreation and Family Traveling Marketing Campaign and Waynesboro & Abingdon – Virginia Appalachian Trail Smart Phone Application). Still others will use the funds for branding (Luray – Luray and Page County: So Much to Love) and comprehensive destination marketing, research and strategic planning (Abingdon). For a complete list of the funded projects, see the Governor’s announcement.
Tourism is an important source of revenue and jobs in Virginia. In 2010, tourism generated $18.9 billion in revenue, provided $1.3 billion in state and local taxes and supported more than 204,000 jobs.
“The VTC Marketing Leverage Grant program is an excellent resource … to boost tourism,” Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
The next round of Marketing Leverage Program grants will open Spring 2012. Localities interested in applying should visit www.vatc.org for more information.