The Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) new WanderLove Recovery Grant Program will provide more than $866,000 to 90 destination marketing organizations (DMO) across Virginia, helping localities severely impacted by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic strengthen their recovery marketing efforts and develop creative campaigns to encourage both in-state and out-of-state travelers to explore the natural beauty of Virginia and the best of its communities!
“Tourism is one of the largest sectors of Virginia’s economy, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the industry. The WanderLove Recovery Grants will help our localities prepare for a rebound in tourism, market their destinations as safe and accessible, and drive new economic activity as we gradually welcome visitors back to our Commonwealth.” – Governor Ralph Northam
VTC’s WanderLove campaign provides travel inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, rural experiences, hidden gems, small towns and its signature LOVEworks program. The campaign was created in response to industry research, indicating that travelers will be seeking safe, close-to-home destinations that allow for social distancing. and access to open spaces.
“The WanderLove Recovery Grant was designed to stimulate economic activity this summer and beyond for travelers as they cautiously resume travel. Virginia destinations have worked incredibly hard to ensure the health and safety of its citizens and visitors, and the WanderLove Campaign is a great way to showcase a fun, relaxing Virginia vacation while also staying safe.” – Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Brian Ball
Here are a few examples of recovery marketing initiatives taking place throughout Virginia:
The town of Marion’s Office of Community and Economic Development received $10,000 from VTC’s WanderLove Recovery Grant Program to design and build a mobile LOVEwork sign and create a marketing campaign centered around the new “WanderLove” program, designed to encourage “Road Trips to Marion” for visitors to discover the locality’s hidden gems. The town’s gems range from the historic Lincoln Theatre and the Henderson School of Appalachian Arts to hiking and biking trails at nearby Hungry Mother State Park. The designated Virginia Main Street (VMS) community remains excited to partner with Virginia Tourism and promote the town of Marion’s vibrant downtown full of unique shops, restaurants, and charm!
The Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce received $1,800 from VTC’s WanderLove Recovery Grant Program to promote travel and tourism throughout the greater Farmville area. The community has a lot to offer visitors, and the chamber will encourage people to day-trip their way to the heart of Virginia. Funds will aid such efforts by providing an extra boost to the chamber’s social media advertising, helping showcase the area’s shopping, dining and outdoor adventures to a wider audience.
The Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce received $9,934 from VTC’s WanderLove Recovery Grant Program to create a dedicated tourism website, itineraries for visitors and a video promoting hidden gems, scenic routes, downtown and outdoor experiences. A robust marketing program will be developed using the chamber’s existing social media platforms to encourage locals to venture out and travelers to explore unique offerings throughout the greater community.
To view VTC’s “Your WanderLove is Calling” promotional video, click here!