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Local tourism programs to receive public-private marketing funds

virginia tourismMore than $965,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 44 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 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 $2.8 million to match the VTC grants, providing more than $3.8 million in new marketing funds to increase visitation to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact at least 182 other statewide tourism entities.

“As we celebrate five decades of the iconic ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ slogan this year, I am thrilled to see such tremendous partnership, innovation, and growth within one of our most important industries,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “Tourism entities throughout Virginia understand the value of strategic and innovative marketing initiatives in promoting what makes this Commonwealth a great place to live, work, and visit. These grant funds are designed to support exciting new development projects and programs that will help attract more travelers and increase visitor spending, while also improving our communities, generating revenue for our regional economies, and creating job opportunities for Virginians.”

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 3:1 by partner dollars.

“The tourism industry has an incredible impact on Virginia’s economy, and the development of new tourism product is essential to our success,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Last year, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 234,000 work opportunities in our communities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. By leveraging the power of public-private partnerships, the Marketing Leverage Program grants will help inject even more critical dollars back into Virginia’s economy.”

The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open on September 10, 2019 with a December 17, 2019 deadline. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.

Marketing Leverage Program grant recipients

Program Name Lead Partner Award
Abingdon CVB: Piloting A Partnership for Growth Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau $5,000
Barter Theatre: Two Stages for Theatre Lovers of All Ages Barter Theatre $5,000
Birds, Brews, and Barbecue Eastern Shore of Virginia Birding and Wildlife Programs, Inc. $2,700
Birthplace of Country Music – Marketing Campaign for Country Music Documentary Birthplace of Country Music $50,000
Carroll County Tourism Carroll County Tourism $5,000
Crozet Trolley Co. Marketing Launch Crozet Trolley Co. $10,000
Destination/Relocation Project Martinsville–Henry County Tourism $37,000
Discover Bristol Content Amplification Discover Bristol $10,000
Discover Something New in Historic Appomattox Tourism Magazine Appomattox Chamber of Commerce $1,500
Dominion Valley Park Gospel Music Dominion Valley LLC $5,000
Downtown Ashland Tourism Promotion Downtown Ashland Association $10,000
Embrace the Wild Buchanan County Tourism $4,790
Executive Leadership Program Visit Alexandria $50,000
Expanding the Message – Giles A Place to Play, Stay, Love, and Enjoy | Virginia’s Mountain Playground™ Giles County Tourism $24,962
Experience our Front Porch from Your Back Porch – Digital Storytelling in SWVA [Phase 1] Friends of Southwest Virginia $25,000
Explore NRV Website New River Valley Regional Commission $3,250
Festy 10 The High Country Presents LLC $25,000
Fire, Flour and Fork’s “Future of Food” Agritourism Tours Real Richmond Food Tours $5,000
Gateway to the World: Enhancing the dot com Halifax County Tourism $5,000
Get Outside! Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority $50,000
Hills, Chills, and Thrills Asset Collection Town of St. Paul $10,000
Kids Trail in Virginia Harpers Ferry Adventure Center $25,000
LET’S GO! Virginia’s EPIC Shenandoah Valley Vacation Shenandoah Valley Travel Association $50,000
LOCKN’ Supports Virginia Music LOCKN’ $3,685
“Love Louisa” Marketing Campaign Louisa County Chamber of Commerce $10,000
Made in Bath County Experiences Bath County Office of Tourism $25,000
Make Highland County Your Arts Destination Highland County Arts Council $3,000
Marketing the Legacies of Early Virginia Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. $25,000
Martinsville Speedway – Spring 2019 Martinsville Speedway $25,000
Music and So Much More The Crooked Road $50,000
Ready for Our Close Up – Shining a Light on the ‘New’ Wytheville Wytheville Convention and Visitors Bureau $50,000
Rooster Walk 12 Music & Arts Festival Rooster Walk Inc. $25,520
“Seasons” Campaign Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office $40,000
The Annual Green Top Outdoor Expo Green Top Sporting Goods $25,000
The Competitive Traveler Roanoke Outside Foundation $8,750
The Place to Play Sessions Hotel $12,500
The River is Calling You Town of Kilmarnock $50,000
Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest $5,000
Tom Tom Summit & Festival 2020 Tom Tom Foundation $50,000
Virginia Foothills Montpelier $25,000
Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers Virginia Farmers Market Association $50,000
Virginia Oyster & Wine Festival at On Sunny Slope Farm On Sunny Slope Farm, Inc. $2,500
Virginia Spirits Trail and Passport Program Virginia Distillers Association $50,000
Website Redesign – Discover Dinwiddie ~ Define Your Experience!!! County of Dinwiddie $10,000

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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