McAuliffe announces $967,000 in matching grants for 50 local tourism programs

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced more than $967,000 in matching grant funds to be awarded to 50 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program.

virginiaThis grant program helps 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 $2.9 million to match the VTC grants, providing nearly $3.9 million in new marketing funds to increase visitation to Virginia. The grants will impact 202 other statewide tourism entities.

“Today, we are making a strategic investment in one of Virginia’s most important and growing industries,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Tourism is the Commonwealth’s fifth largest industry, and every dollar spent on new product development means economic growth, jobs, and improved quality of life for Virginia families. The Marketing Leverage Program grants fund innovative marketing initiatives for tourism entities across the Commonwealth, helping them to promote Virginia as a premier travel destination.”

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by 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, which is matched and leveraged on average three to one by partner dollars.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants are an important way to support our nationally- and internationally-acclaimed tourism industry,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Last year, tourism generated a record $24 billion in revenue, which supported 230,000 jobs and contributed $1.7 billion in state and local taxes, and helped spark growth in all regions of the Commonwealth. Tourism is a sound investment for the Commonwealth, and these funds provide a critical stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.”

A full list of Marketing Leverage Program grant recipients can be found below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants are now open, with a December 5, 2017 deadline.

Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.


Program NameLead PartnerAward Amount
A Moving ExperienceHeart of Appalachia Tourism Authority


Alexandria 360Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association


America’s Historic Triangle Marketing and  New Booking PlatformJamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.$25,000
Art in Appalachia, Appalachia in the WorldWilliam King Museum of Art



Art in the ValleyFall Foliage Festival Art Show


Birthplace of Country Music – Digital Marketing CampaignBirthplace of Country Music



Connecting Weddings to Southwest VirginiaJoint IDA of Wythe County



Cycle FloydFloyd County Tourism Office


Destination HarrisonburgHarrisonburg Downtown Renaissance


Developing Itineraries to Enhance Virginia’s Rural Coastal VisitationArtisans Center of Virginia



Discover Bristol Marketing CampaignBristol Convention & Visitors Bureau


Elegantly English in StauntonAmerican Shakespeare Center


Enrich Your AdventureTazewell County


Expanded Website for Wytheville There’s Only OneWytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau



Experience Danville Pittsylvania CountyDanville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce


Find It In FarmvilleTown of Farmville


Find it in Radford 2018Radford Tourism


Floyd Yoga Jam 2017The Floyd Yoga Jam


Galax – Small Town, Big AdventuresCity of Galax Tourism Office


Harbor for the Arts Summer FestivalCitizens for Central Park


Jagged Edge Motorcycle TrailJagged Edge LLC.


Kairos Resort Marketing CampaignKairos Resort


LanternAsia: Art by Day, Magic by Night!Norfolk Botanical Garden



Martinsville SpeedwayMartinsville Speedway


Meeting Incentive ProgramStaunton Convention and Visitors Bureau


Mountains of Music Homecoming – Building on SuccessThe Crooked Road



Never Stop Playing: Earned Media CampaignAbingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau



Norfolk Festevents Waterfront Marketing Initiative 2017Norfolk Festevents, Ltd.



Passport to a Shenandoah Beerwerks AdventureCity of Waynesboro Economic Development & Tourism


Play and Stay: Making it Easy to Plan Your Next Adventure in AbingdonBarter Theatre



Promoting Ecotourism in the Virginia’s Western HighlandsBath County Office of Tourism



Resonant Frequencies: Sound Arts RichmondRichmond Performing Arts Alliance



Rooster Walk Music & Arts FestivalRooster Walk Inc.


Shenandoah Spirits TrailShendandoah County


Showcasing the Blue Ridge Parkway – Phase TwoPrimland



Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure: Plan Your Mountain AdventureSouthern Gap Outdoor Adventure



Southwest Virginia New Content Generation & Database ProgramFriends of Southwest Virginia



Terra Floyd Pottery TourWrenn Pottery


The 70th Anniversary Green Top Outdoor ExpoGreen Top Sporting Goods



The 8th Annual Festy ExperienceThe Festy Experience LLC.


Thomas Jefferson Wine FestivalThomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest


Today’s Shenandoah Valley Takes FlightNorthern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission


Urbanna Oyster Festival – VIP Oyster Lovers ExperienceCounty of Middlesex Virginia



Virginia Craft Brewers Fest Hosted By Three Notch’d Brewing CompanyThree Notch’d Brewing Company



Virginia is for Lake Lovers/”Mobilizing” Smith Mountain Lake CampaignSmith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce



Visit Culpeper | Travels with DarleyTown of Culpeper Tourism and Economic Development


Visit the Ferry Landing District in Colonial BeachNorthern Neck Tourism Commission



Visit The Home Of The World’s Best BourbonA. Smith Bowman Distillery



Visit Wise County Digital Content DevelopmentWise County



Watermen’s WayTown of Kilmarnock



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