For Immediate Release: March 6, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Tourism Corporation: Caroline Logan, (804) 545-5572, clogan@virginia.org

Governor Northam Announces 56 Local Tourism Programs to Receive Public-Private Marketing Funds to Bolster Growth

Program will generate more than $3.9 million in marketing initiatives, impact more than 230 statewide tourism entities

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $840,000in matching grant funds to be awarded to 56 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP).  The MLP grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $3.1 million to match the VTC grants, providing more than $3.9 million in new marketing funds to increase visitation to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact at least 232 other statewide tourism entities.

“Virginia’s tourism industry is a key pillar of our economy and growing it is a great way to create new jobs and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “These grants help communities across the Commonwealth discover new ways to market themselves to travelers by creating new tourism products and enhancing existing attractions and destinations. These efforts improve the visitor experience, making it easy for travelers to discover 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 of 3:1 by partner dollars.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants continue to provide critical funding for our tourism businesses across the state, and demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships,” said Esther Lee, Secretary of Commerce & Trade. “These dollars are injected into local economies across the Commonwealth, helping to create vibrant communities and premier destinations that attract travelers from all over the world. These efforts help to ensure that Virginia remains the best state in the nation not only to visit, but to live, work, and raise a family.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open on April 10, 2018, with a June 26, 2018 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

"A Walk Through History": Augmented Reality Project at Museum

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation

$2,150

"Untap the Possibilities” ~ Suffolk, Virginia’s Craft Brew Marketing Initiative

Suffolk Division of Tourism

$3,000

“Discover Shenandoah” Weddings Drink Virginia Wine and Spirits

Discover Shenandoah

$10,000

91st Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

$24,250

A Masterwork in Progress

William King Museum of Art

$5,000

Biplanes and Brews

Military Aviation Museum

$5,000

Birthplace of Country Music – 2018 Video Development Project and Marketing Campaign

Birthplace of Country Music

$50,000

Blue to New Regional Agritourism Brand Launch

Giles County

$2,500

Boat to the Beach

Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce

$9,000

Brand USA Road Trip Video

Arlington Convention and Visitors Service

$9,000

Breaks Adventure Athlete Films

Breaks Interstate Park

$25,000

Celebrating 25 Years of Vacations

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority

$50,000

Come to the Mountains of Southwest Virginia

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

$5,000

Crab Orchard Museum Website & Marketing

Crab Orchard Museum

$5,000

Craft Beer & Music Festival- weekend in Exmore, VA

ESO Arts Center

$1,255

Damascus - A Friendly Shoulder

Town of Damascus

$5,000

Discover Bristol 2018 Creative Content Development and Marketing Campaign

Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau

$25,000

Discover Inspiration On Every Corner

Weyanoke Hotel

$25,000

Erik the Travel Guy goes to Montgomery County VA

Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office

$5,000

Experience Appomattox Marketing Campaign

Appomattox Chamber of Commerce

$5,000

Experience Russell Phase II: Climb High & Float Easy

Russell County Tourism

$5,000

Explore the New River City—How One Family Helped Shape Virginia

Radford Heritage Foundation

$2,375

Find It In Farmville: Phase II

Town of Farmville

$2,500

Genuine Smithfield and Isle of Wight Mobile Responsive Website

Smithfield & IOW Tourism

$34,992

GoChesapeake / Chesapeake Passport

Virginia Water Tourism Corp

$5,000

Hampton Roads Soccer Council (Hampton Roads Soccer Complex and North American Sand Soccer Championship)

Hampton Roads Soccer Council

$5,000

Hanover Virginia Tourism Marketing Campaign

Center of the Universe Brewing Co.

$5,000

Heroes of Music & Music for Heroes - Discover Virginia through the Arts

Virginia Arts Festival

$25,000

I love this ______. Fill in your blank in the Shenandoah Valley

Massanutten Bike Park

$18,247

Let the Exploration Begin Washington, DC Campaign

Shenandoah Caverns

$6,000

Lynchburg is for Lovers

Academy Center of the Arts

$2,500

Marketing Materials and Non-Print Advertising

Garth Newel

$12,500

Martinsville Speedway - Fall 2017 VTC Marketing Leverage Program

Martinsville Speedway

$25,000

New Regional Website, Eastern Shore

Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission

$9,454

NRV Trail Guide

New River Valley Regional Commission

$2,500

People of Page

Page County Economic Development/Tourism

$2,500

Philpott 3

Martinsville/Henry County Tourism

$5,000

Plan a Weekend Getaway in Olde Towne Portsmouth

Olde Towne Business Association

$4,500

Portsmouth Cultural Arts District Marketing Campaign

Portsmouth Department of Marketing, Communications & Tourism

$10,140

PPTF 2018 Marketing Grant Request

Petersburg Preservation Task Force

$50,000

Pulaski Paths Forward

Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

$10,000

Rails, Trails and Ales in Virginia's Blue Ridge

Virginia's Blue Ridge

$50,000

Revitalized Downtown Wytheville Campaign 2018/Expanded Wytheville Website Phase Two

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

$50,000

Richmond Black Restaurant Experience - Marketing Campaign 2018

Virginia Black Restaurant Experience

$5,000

Richmond Festival of the River

Richmond Symphony

$7,500

Rives Theatre in Martinsville VA

Rooster Walk, Inc.

$3,200

Roanoke Street Pub

Deschutes Brewery

$12,500

This is Our Rush Hour DC Metro Takeover

Shenandoah County

$50,000

Tom Tom Founders Festival

Tom Tom Founders Festival

$25,000

Trails & Tracks: Get Outdoors in Luray & Page County

Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce

$25,000

Tween Rivers Trail Brand Awareness Campaign

Rappahanock-Rapidan Regional Commission

$21,012.50

Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow & Related Marketing Activities

Virginia Distillers Association

$10,000

Virginia Highlands Festival "Create"

Virginia Highlands Festival

$17,170

Virginia's Crossroads - Find Your Path!

Mecklenburg County VA Tourism Office

$20,000

Website Creation Part II: Content is King

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau

$25,000

Your Ticket To The Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Travel Association

$5,000

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