Gov. McDonnell announces matching tourism grants

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that more than $750,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 42 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Grant program.

virginia-blue-oversizeThe grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 184 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with nearly $3 million, providing nearly $4 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

“These grants are an important tool that will enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors,” McDonnell said. “More visitors in Virginia mean greater tax revenue, a better business environment, and more good jobs for Virginians.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2012 tourism generated $21.2 billion in revenue, supported 210,000 jobs and provided $1.36 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

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 not-for-profit entities.

In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually – matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars – to more than 80 communities across the Commonwealth.

“These grants enable local tourism partners to pursue projects that might otherwise be beyond their budget,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “The Marketing Leverage Grants program is a powerful tool in helping to support and grow a robust economy in Virginia. Our local partners are working on amazing projects and campaigns that will help to beautify communities, bring more visitors to Virginia, and create even more outstanding tourism products that visitors will continue to fall in love with year after year.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open in spring 2014. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.


Town of Big Stone GapBig Stone Gap The Movie Regional Promotion$ 5,000.00
Garth Newel Music CenterGreat Escapes: Garth Newel Music Center and Fort Lewis Lodge$ 25,000.00
Abingdon Convention and Visitors BureauCreate Repeat Visitation Through Stellar Customer Service$ 50,000.00
Heart of Appalachia Tourism AuthorityAppalachian Backroads – Motorcycle & Scenic Driving Tours/Trails$ 10,000.00
City of Salem-Tourism OfficeSummer Love in Salem$ 50,000.00
Museum of the ConfederacyCountdown to the Sesquicentennial$ 14,500.00
Wytheville Convention & Visitors BureauFun for Everyone: Festivals & Events in the Wytheville Area$ 50,000.00
Montgomery County Regional Tourism OfficeContent Creation for Inaugural Montgomery County Regional Website and Visitor’s Guide$ 20,000.00
Virginia Arts FestivalEngage, Inspire, Build – Embracing Social & Digital Media to Expand Audiences$ 50,000.00
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields FoundationShenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District 2014-2016 Marketing Campaign$ 25,360.00
Friends of the Culpeper County LibraryCulpeper Tells…A Festival of Words$ 8,750.00
The Crooked RoadMiles & Miles of Music Festival$ 50,000.00
Surry County GovernmentBranding Surry County: Yes, Virginia, There is a Surry County$ 50,000.00
Appalachian Sustainable DevelopmentGet Rooted in Appalachia – Local Food Campaign$ 31,900.00
Visit Loudoun FoundationVisit Loudoun Research Program$ 25,860.00
Paralyzed Veterans of America, Mid-Atlantic ChapterThe Richmond Regional Ride Center (RRRC)$ 10,000.00
Halifax County Dept. of TourismHalifax-Mecklenburg Blueway$ 10,000.00
City of Alexandria, Office of Historic AlexandriaAlexandria War of 1812 Commemoration$ 10,000.00
County of MecklenburgPetersburg to Appomattox Campaign$ 13,500.00
Abingdon Main StreetShop, Dine, Play and Stay Downtown$ 5,000.00
Waynesboro Parks and RecreationValley Race Series Promotion$ 2,500.00
Historic Manassas Website Makeover$ 4,250.00
Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism & Film DivisionMartinsville-Henry County, Virginia: A Visual Tour$ 3,516.50
Smyth County Tourism AssociationSouthwest Virginia Flyfishing Trail$ 15,310.33
Visit LoudounEpicurience Virginia$ 50,000.00
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor CenterLuray and Page County: Beauty and Adventure on Every Level$ 25,000.00
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival87th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival ‘The Land of Pink & Green!’$ 25,000.00
Rassawek VineyardVisit Goochland/Rassawek Spring Jubilee$ 2,500.00
Starr Hill Brewery LLCStarr Hill Brewery 2013 Marketing and Events Program$ 25,000.00
City of PoquosonPoquoson is the Place for Tourism$ 2,557.50
VistaGraphicsCoastal Virginia Wine Fest$ 12,500.00
Out of the Woodwork ProductionsThe Virginia Renaissance Faire Marketing for 2013-14$ 4,988.27
Mountain Cove VineyardJefferson Heritage Trail$ 5,000.00
Virginia Highland FestivalGet Your Kicks$ 6,281.50
Central Shenandoah Planning District CommissionFields of Gold – Shenandoah Valley’s Farm Trail$ 3,250.00
Ashland Main Street AssociationFind Your Passion in Ashland: The Center of Universe$ 5,000.00
ESVAF IncTall Ships at Cape Charles Festival 2014$ 5,000.00
Madison Chamber of Commerce and Visitor CenterMadison County Tourism “Ride, Hike, Taste, Stay”$ 5,000.00
The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of CommerceGood Times, Tastes & Traditions; featuring Farming in the Valley$ 5,000.00
Orange Downtown Allianceedible Food Fest in Orange$ 5,000.00
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference CenterTennis is for Lovers in Virginia Beach$ 25,000.00
Cove Ridge FoundationVirginia Is For Lovers of Southwest Virginia Mountain Parks$ 2,500.00

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit to start planning a vacation or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.


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