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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: July 22, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Tourism Corporation: Caroline Logan, clogan@virginia.org, (804) 545-5572

Governor Northam Announces 90 Virginia Destinations Receive Funding to Support Tourism Businesses

Virginia Tourism Corporation awards over $866,000 in WanderLove Grants, generating more than $3 million in marketing activity

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that more than $866,000 will be awarded to 90 destination marketing organizations (DMO) through the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) new DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program announced in June. First Lady Pamela Northam joined VTC leaders and local officials at an event in the City of Alexandria to recognize Visit Alexandria as a grant recipient and highlight the city’s small businesses that are demonstrating resilience in the face of public health and economic crises.

Recovery marketing funds will be awarded to DMOs that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with each awardee receiving a maximum of $10,000. While the grant program did not require a cash match, destinations have pledged a collective in-kind match of more than $3 million. Funds must be used for recovery marketing and may be used for participating in the VTC co-ops, local advertising, out-of-state marketing, and other allowable items.

“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,” said Governor Northam. “Travel will look different for as long as this virus is with us, and many Virginians are seeking getaways that are closer to home. 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.”

VTC’s WanderLove campaign launched on June 15, 2020 and provides travel inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, 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 have access to open spaces like beaches, outdoor recreation, and rural experiences. DMO grant recipients will be given creative assets and a toolkit to implement WanderLove in their own marketing. 

“The WanderLove Recovery Grant was designed to stimulate economic activity this summer and beyond for travelers as they cautiously resume travel,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Virginia destinations have worked incredibly hard to ensure the health and safety of its citizens and visitors. The WanderLove campaign is a great way to showcase a fun, relaxing Virginia vacation while also staying safe.”

VTC encouraged applicants to develop creative campaigns centered on road trips that can be marketed to both in-state and out-of-state travelers. For example, Floyd County will use WanderLove funds for a comprehensive, community-wide program to assist local businesses in developing itineraries that highlight the best of Floyd. Charlottesville, in addition to promoting local attractions, will engage with the Northern Neck Tourism Commission and Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority to do cross-promotion and drive visitation to all parts of Virginia. Loudoun County will develop a digital toolkit to generate awareness and excitement about WanderLove among its local business community.

In 2018, visitors spent $26 billion, which supported 236,000 work opportunities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. A full list of WanderLove Recovery Grant recipients can be found below. To view VTC’s WanderLove launch video, please click here.

LOCALITY OR REGION

DESTINATION MARKETING ORGANIZATION

AWARD

Town of Abingdon

Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

City of Alexandria

Visit Alexandria

$10,000.00

Alleghany Highlands

Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism

$10,000.00

Arlington County

Arlington Convention and Visitors Service

$10,000.00

Town of Ashland and Hanover County

Ashland/Hanover Visitor Center

$10,000.00

Bath County

Bath County

$10,000.00

Bedford County

Bedford Area and Welcome Center and Tourism 

$10,000.00

Town of Big Stone Gap

Big Stone Gap Visitor Center

$10,000.00

Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg and Montgomery County

Montgomery County VA Regional Tourism

$10,000.00

Bland County

Bland County

$10,000.00

City of Bristol

Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

Buchanan County

Buchanan County Tourism

$10,000.00

Town of Cape Charles

Town of Cape Charles

$10,000.00

City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County

Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

City of Chesapeake

Chesapeake Conventions & Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

Town of Chincoteague

Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce

$10,000.00

Town of Clarksville

Clarksville Lake Country Chamber of Commerce

$10,000.00

Town of Colonial Beach

Town of Colonial Beach

$10,000.00

Town of Culpeper

Town of Culpeper

$10,000.00

Dickenson County

Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center

$10,000.00

Eastern Shore

Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission

$10,000.00

Fairfax County

Visit Fairfax

$10,000.00

Town of Farmville and counties of Prince Edward and Cumberland

Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce

$1,800.00

Fauquier County

Fauquier County Department of Economic Development

$10,000.00

Floyd County

Floyd County Tourism Development Council

$10,000.00

Franklin County

County of Franklin

$10,000.00

City of Fredericksburg

Department of Economic Development and Tourism

$4,800.00

City of Galax

City of Galax

$10,000.00

Giles County

Giles County

$10,000.00

Gloucester County

Gloucester Parks, Recreation and Tourism

$10,000.00

Grayson County

Grayson County

$10,000.00

Halifax County and Town of South Boston

Halifax County Tourism Department

$10,000.00

City of Hampton

Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau

$10,000.00

City of Harrisonburg

City of Harrisonburg

$10,000.00

Highland County

Highland County Chamber of Commerce

$9,965.00

Town of Hillsville

Hillsville

$10,000.00

City of Hopewell and Prince George County

Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

$9,934.00

Town of Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock

$10,000.00

King George County

King George County Tourism Advisory Committee

$8,243.50

Lee County

Lee County

$10,000.00

City of Lexington and Rockbridge Area

Lexington and the Rockbridge Area Tourism Development

$10,000.00

Loudoun County

Visit Loudoun

$10,000.00

Town of Luray and Page County

Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

$10,000.00

Madison County

Madison County Visitor Center & Chamber of Commerce

$10,000.00

Town of Marion

Town of Marion

$10,000.00

City of Martinsville and Henry County

Martinsville-Henry County

$4,727.00

Mathews County

Mathews County Visitor & Information Center

$10,000.00

Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County Tourism Office

$10,000.00

Middlesex County

Middlesex County

$10,000.00

Nelson County

Nelson County Convention and Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

City of Newport News

Newport News Tourism

$10,000.00

City of Norfolk

VisitNorfolk

$10,000.00

Northern Neck

Northern Neck Tourism Commission

$10,000.00

City of Norton

City of Norton

$10,000.00

Orange County

Orange County Tourism Department

$10,000.00

Patrick County

Patrick County Tourism

$10,000.00

Town of Pennington Gap

Town of Pennington Gap

$10,000.00

Petersburg Region

Petersburg Area Regional Tourism

$10,000.00

City of Petersburg

Petersburg Department of Tourism

$10,000.00

City of Portsmouth

Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

$10,000.00

Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County Office of Tourism

$10,000.00

Prince William County

Prince William County Office of Tourism

$10,000.00

Pulaski County

Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center

$2,200.00

City of Radford

City of Radford

$10,000.00

Richmond Region

Richmond Region Tourism

$10,000.00

Roanoke Valley

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge

$10,000.00

Rockingham County

Office of Economic Development and Tourism

$10,000.00

Russell County

Russell County

$10,000.00

City of Salem

Salem Visitors Center

$10,000.00

Scott County

Scott County

$10,000.00

Shenandoah County

Shenandoah County

$10,000.00

Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah Valley Travel Association

$10,000.00

Smith Mountain Lake Region

Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce

$9,995.00

Town of Smithfield and Isle of Wight County

Smithfield and Isle of Wight Convention & Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

Town of South Hill

South Hill Chamber of Commerce

$5,000.00

Southwest Virginia

Friends of Southwest Virginia

$10,000.00

Southwest Virginia

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority

$10,000.00

Spotsylvania County

Spotsylvania County Department of Tourism

$10,000.00

Town of St. Paul

Town of St. Paul

$10,000.00

Stafford County

Stafford County

$10,000.00

City of Staunton

Staunton Convention and Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

Surry County

Surry County

$10,000.00

Tazewell County

Tazewell County

$10,000.00

City of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

City of Waynesboro

City of Waynesboro

$10,000.00

Westmoreland County

Westmoreland County

$10,000.00

City of Winchester and Frederick County

Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau

$9,840.00

Wise County

Wise County Tourism

$10,000.00

Town of Wytheville

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

$10,000.00

York County

York County Tourism Development

$10,000.00

TOTAL

$866,504.50

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