Northam announces 56 local tourism programs to receive public-private marketing funds

virginiaGovernor Ralph Northam today announced more than $840,000 in matching grant funds to be awarded to 56 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) 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 $3.1 million to match the VTC grants, providing more than $3.9 million in new marketing funds to increase visitation to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact at least 232 other statewide tourism entities.

“Virginia’s tourism industry is a key pillar of our economy and growing it is a great way to create new jobs and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “These grants help communities across the Commonwealth discover new ways to market themselves to travelers by creating new tourism products and enhancing existing attractions and destinations. These efforts improve the visitor experience, making it easy for travelers to discover why Virginia is for Lovers.”

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 of 3:1 by partner dollars.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants continue to provide critical funding for our tourism businesses across the state, and demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships,” said Esther Lee, Secretary of Commerce & Trade. “These dollars are injected into local economies across the Commonwealth, helping to create vibrant communities and premier destinations that attract travelers from all over the world. These efforts help to ensure that Virginia remains the best state in the nation not only to visit, but to live, work, and raise a family.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open on April 10, 2018, with a June 26, 2018 deadline. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.

A full list of Marketing Leverage Program grant recipients can be found below:

Program Name Lead Partner Award Amount
“A Walk Through History”: Augmented Reality Project at Museum Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation $2,150
“Untap the Possibilities” ~ Suffolk, Virginia’s Craft Brew Marketing Initiative Suffolk Division of Tourism $3,000
“Discover Shenandoah” Weddings Drink Virginia Wine and Spirits Discover Shenandoah $10,000
91st Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival $24,250
A Masterwork in Progress William King Museum of Art $5,000
Biplanes and Brews Military Aviation Museum $5,000
Birthplace of Country Music – 2018 Video Development Project and Marketing Campaign Birthplace of Country Music $50,000
Blue to New Regional Agritourism Brand Launch Giles County $2,500
Boat to the Beach Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce $9,000
Brand USA Road Trip Video Arlington Convention and Visitors Service $9,000
Breaks Adventure Athlete Films Breaks Interstate Park $25,000
Celebrating 25 Years of Vacations Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority $50,000
Come to the Mountains of Southwest Virginia Chestnut Creek School of the Arts $5,000
Crab Orchard Museum Website & Marketing Crab Orchard Museum $5,000
Craft Beer & Music Festival- weekend in Exmore, VA ESO Arts Center $1,255
Damascus – A Friendly Shoulder Town of Damascus $5,000
Discover Bristol 2018 Creative Content Development and Marketing Campaign Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau $25,000
Discover Inspiration On Every Corner Weyanoke Hotel $25,000
Erik the Travel Guy goes to Montgomery County VA Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office $5,000
Experience Appomattox Marketing Campaign Appomattox Chamber of Commerce $5,000
Experience Russell Phase II: Climb High & Float Easy Russell County Tourism $5,000
Explore the New River City—How One Family Helped Shape Virginia Radford Heritage Foundation $2,375
Find It In Farmville: Phase II Town of Farmville $2,500
Genuine Smithfield and Isle of Wight Mobile Responsive Website Smithfield & IOW Tourism $34,992
GoChesapeake / Chesapeake Passport Virginia Water Tourism Corp $5,000
Hampton Roads Soccer Council (Hampton Roads Soccer Complex and North American Sand Soccer Championship) Hampton Roads Soccer Council $5,000
Hanover Virginia Tourism Marketing Campaign Center of the Universe Brewing Co. $5,000
Heroes of Music & Music for Heroes – Discover Virginia through the Arts Virginia Arts Festival $25,000
I love this ______. Fill in your blank in the Shenandoah Valley Massanutten Bike Park $18,247
Let the Exploration Begin Washington, DC Campaign Shenandoah Caverns $6,000
Lynchburg is for Lovers Academy Center of the Arts $2,500
Marketing Materials and Non-Print Advertising Garth Newel $12,500
Martinsville Speedway – Fall 2017 VTC Marketing Leverage Program Martinsville Speedway $25,000
New Regional Website, Eastern Shore Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission $9,454
NRV Trail Guide New River Valley Regional Commission $2,500
People of Page Page County Economic Development/Tourism $2,500
Philpott 3 Martinsville/Henry County Tourism $5,000
Plan a Weekend Getaway in Olde Towne Portsmouth Olde Towne Business Association $4,500
Portsmouth Cultural Arts District Marketing Campaign Portsmouth Department of Marketing, Communications & Tourism $10,140
PPTF 2018 Marketing Grant Request Petersburg Preservation Task Force $50,000
Pulaski Paths Forward Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce $10,000
Rails, Trails and Ales in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Virginia’s Blue Ridge $50,000
Revitalized Downtown Wytheville Campaign 2018/Expanded Wytheville Website Phase Two Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau $50,000
Richmond Black Restaurant Experience – Marketing Campaign 2018 Virginia Black Restaurant Experience $5,000
Richmond Festival of the River Richmond Symphony $7,500
Rives Theatre in Martinsville VA Rooster Walk, Inc. $3,200
Roanoke Street Pub Deschutes Brewery $12,500
This is Our Rush Hour DC Metro Takeover Shenandoah County $50,000
Tom Tom Founders Festival Tom Tom Founders Festival $25,000
Trails & Tracks: Get Outdoors in Luray & Page County Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce $25,000
Tween Rivers Trail Brand Awareness Campaign Rappahanock-Rapidan Regional Commission $21,012.50
Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow & Related Marketing Activities Virginia Distillers Association $10,000
Virginia Highlands Festival “Create” Virginia Highlands Festival $17,170
Virginia’s Crossroads – Find Your Path! Mecklenburg County VA Tourism Office $20,000
Website Creation Part II: Content is King Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau $25,000
Your Ticket To The Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Travel Association $5,000


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