Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Monday that more than $2.7 million in matching grant and reimbursable sponsorship funds will be awarded to 259 local and regional tourism programs as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program and Regional Marketing Program.
These funding programs are designed to leverage local marketing dollars with matching state funds to increase visitation and traveler spending. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $12.4 million to match the VTC funding, providing more than $15 million in new marketing activity. The funding will be awarded to 215 local and regional tourism entities, ultimately impacting 259 programs and more than 1,000 combined partners.
“Tourism is a major economic driver for the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing and creating good jobs and injecting critical dollars back into our communities,” Youngkin said. “Virginia’s tourism industry has been unrelenting in its recovery efforts, developing innovative and best-in-class strategies to bolster the economy. These grant funds will help continue that momentum, further underscoring that Virginia is open for business and is the best place to live, work, and travel.”
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. Using the hub and spoke tourism model, six Virginia entities partner financially to apply for funding. 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.
The VTC Regional Marketing Program was created through legislation sponsored by Senator Tommy Norment. The RMP aims to help Destination Marketing Organizations drive overnight visitation and to supplement funding for economically significant special events and festivals to increase overnight visitation. The DMO special events and festivals funding is projected to drive more than 125,000 room nights over the next 18 months.
“Virginia Tourism’s Marketing Leverage and Regional Marketing Programs provide the tourism industry with the tools they need to succeed and thrive in an incredibly competitive landscape,” said Caren Merrick, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry in Virginia, and it is imperative that we are able to market the abundance of travel experiences across the Commonwealth, inviting new travelers to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”
The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program will open in mid-2022. The next round of Regional Marketing Program will open in early 2023. Organizations and businesses that are interested in applying may visit www.vatc.org for more information.
A full list of funding recipients can be found here.