Among the initiatives winning grants were four originating in our local area.
– SVTA Outdoor Recreation and Family Travel Marketing Campaign (New Market, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Front Royal): $50,000
– Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival (Waynesboro): $10,000
– Virginia Appalachian Trail Smart Phone Application (Waynesboro, Abingdon, Front Royal): $5,000
– The Gateway Theater (Waynesboro): $5,000
The grants assist local and regional tourism entities to attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 3-to-1 to create marketing projects such as websites, signage, social media and advertisements.
“Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia that supports jobs across the Commonwealth,” said McDonnell. “The state’s investment in these grants is tripled by local matching dollars which greatly increases Virginia’s marketing power to bring more tourists to the state.”
In 2010 tourism in Virginia generated $18.9 billion in revenue, provided $1.3 billion in state and local taxes and supported more than 204,000 jobs. Dollars invested in tourism have been shown to provide a 5-to-1 return in tax revenue in 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 stimulates new tourism marketing through partnerships and extends the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand. The program’s objective is to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars. A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply for a grant. Partners may consist of Virginia towns, cities, 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 million annually— matched and leveraged on average three to one by partner dollars —to more than 80 communities across the Commonwealth.
“The VTC Marketing Leverage Grant program is an excellent resource for Virginia’s localities looking to boost tourism,” said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “The communities work together on projects that will have the most impact for the locality or region.”