The grant will support SVTA’s new “VISIT SHENANDOAH” project, which is designed to showcase the Shenandoah Valley as a premier travel destination and drive new tourism visits.
In applying for the grant, SVTA successfully partnered with Luray Caverns, Delaware North at Shenandoah National Park, and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to supply $37,550 in matching funds.
The project is primarily a digital campaign that will, among other activities, launch a new visitshenandoah.org website in early summer. The new website will be optimized for mobile and tablet use, as visitors increasingly make their travel decisions on the go. According to SVTA president Julie Armel, the existing site already attracts nearly 200,000 visitors each year. The new website, plus a grant-supported digital advertising buy in key markets, is expected to increase online visitation numbers by 25%. The grant’s digital media buy specifically targets audiences in the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area and the Charlottesville, Richmond, and Tidewater regions.
SVTA’s digital marketing campaign will be complemented by the distribution of a 35-page Shenandoah Valley Travel Guide in all 11 Virginia State Welcome Centers and state-maintained rest areas on Interstates 81, 64, and 95 in Virginia. SVTA will also be coordinating with Moore Public Relations to work with travel writers and provide media relations support.
Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. 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.
“These grants are proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and effective marketing programs,” said Governor McAuliffe.
SVTA is one of just 39 organizations statewide to be awarded funds.
About the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association
Founded in 1924, SVTA is one of the nation’s oldest destination marketing organizations. The primary purpose of the member-based organization is to support the hospitality and travel industry in the region, and to promote the Shenandoah Valley. For more information, visitshenandoah.org