Northam announces marketing grants to support 57 local tourism programs

virginiaGovernor Ralph Northam today announced more than $890,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 57 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program.

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 $4 million to match the VTC grants, providing more than $4.9 million in new marketing funds to increase travel to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact at least 232 other statewide tourism entities.

“Tourism continues to be one of the fastest-growing and most innovative industries in Virginia, proving to be a substantial revenue generator year after year,” said Governor Northam. “Across the Commonwealth, tourism businesses recognize the importance of having inventive, strategic marketing initiatives to showcase all that Virginia has to offer. These grants will support those efforts and help draw thousands of additional visitors to the Commonwealth to experience everything that makes Virginia so special—our scenic beauty, exciting restaurants, historic sites, music venues and festivals, charming small towns, oysters, wine, craft beer and more.”

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 3:1 by partner dollars.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants continue to inject critical funds into communities across the Commonwealth, helping to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The tourism industry is a huge economic engine for Virginia. Last year, visitors spent $25 billion, which supported 232,000 jobs and contributed $1.73 billion in state and local taxes. By leveraging these marketing funds and public-private partnerships, the Marketing Leverage Program grants will help spur even more economic activity, funneling dollars back into our cities and towns across Virginia.”

The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open on September 5, 2018, with a November 7, 2018deadline. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.

Marketing Leverage Program grant recipients

Program NameLead PartnerAward Amount
2019 State Games of AmericaVirginia Amateur Sports$25,000
36 hours in Charlottesville Wine CountryEarly Mountain$5,000
A Family Tradition Continues: Sinkland FarmsSinkland Farms$8,750
Adjust Your AltitudeHeart of Appalachia Tourism Authority$50,000
Agritourism Branding and Update of Marketing Materials and ImagesFort Lewis Lodge & Farm$7,725
An Abingdon ChristmasBarter Theatre$5,000
Artisans of Virginia Reaching BeyondArtisans Center of Virginia$5,000
Birthplace of Country Music – Mobile Marketing Initiative and CampaignBirthplace of Country Music$25,000
Bridge the GapSoLace Studios Fine Handcrafts$2,500
“Come, Find Home” Marketing CampaignMontgomery County Regional Tourism Office$17,500
Creek Bottom Brewing Marketing Leverage ProgramCreek Bottom Brewing$2,424
Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretive CenterScott County Economic Development Authority$50,000
Digital Marketing and Influencers in the OutdoorsRoanoke Outside Foundation$25,000
Discover Bristol Outdoor Recreation Marketing InitiativeDiscover Bristol$10,000
Discover the Town of FloydTown of Floyd$2,900
Divinely Placed: Marketing the Waynesboro ExperienceCity of Waynesboro Economic Development & Tourism$50,000
Draper is for DreamersPulaski Grow$23,400
Exploring Taste of Blue Ridge’s Food Scene through Video and PhotographyNibblins LLC$25,000
Fall Home to TazewellTazewell Area Chamber of Commerce$5,000
Find Your Outdoor MUSE in Shenandoah CountyMuse Vineyards$10,000
Find Your River Fun in Virginia’s River RealmTown of Kilmarnock$10,000
Fish Virginia First—For Your Freshwater Fishing AdventuresAlleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism$3,500
Floyd Yoga Jam 2018Floyd Yoga Jam$5,000
Get Lost in the GapTown of Pennington Gap$5,000
Giles County Engaging Visitors to Find Their Playground in Virginia’s Mountain Playground™Giles County Tourism$7,549
Grayson County Online Ad CampaignGrayson Highlands General Store & Inn$9,100
Harrisonburg International Festival & CommunityCommunity Mediation Center DBA FairField Center$10,000
Join the AdventureTrailhead Adventures$5,000
King Street Waterfront Park LaunchVisit Alexandria$25,000
Live the Mountain LifeTazewell County$5,000
Martinsville Speedway – Spring 2018Martinsville Speedway$25,000
Marts and Arts: Pulaski’s Downtown Activation CampaignTown of Pulaski$1,000
Maximizing the 2019 Commemoration for America’s Historic TriangleJamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.$25,000
New ConnectionsWilliam King Museum of Art$5,000
Peaches and Pickin in Patrick CountyPatrick County Chamber of Commerce$7,400
Reaching the Traveler DigitallyWytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau$25,000
Regional Amp-up: The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music 2019The Crooked Road$25,000
Rooster Walk 11 Music & Arts FestivalRooster Walk Inc$10,842
Rooted in the Past, Growing to the Future: Diversifying Abingdon’s Brand IdentityAbingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau$48,720
Salty Southern Route – The Path to Virginia’s Pork & PeanutsSalty Southern Trail$22,247
Shenandoah Valley Epic ExperiencesShenandoah Valley Travel Association$25,000
Shocktober 2018The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus$5,000
The Annual Green Top Outdoor ExpoGreen Top Sporting Goods$25,000
The Commonwealth Coastal ClassicNorfolk Festevents, Ltd.$25,000
The heART of the Alleghany HighlandsAlleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism$30,000
The Virginia Historical Society’s Event SpacesVirginia Historical Society$25,000
Thomas Jefferson Wine FestivalThomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest$5,000
Tom Tom Founders FestivalTom Tom Foundation$25,000
Traditional Blue Ridge Music Cultural Kick-OffBlue Ridge Institute and Museum$5,000
Trailblazing Art!Taubman Museum of Art$25,000
TransVirginia Bike RouteVillage to Village Press, LLC$9,481
Virginia Creeper Trail: Heading into the FutureVirginia Creeper Trail Club$10,000
Virginia FoothillsMontpelier$25,000
Virginia MOCA Exhibition – Todd Schorr: Atomic CocktailVirginia Museum of Contemporary Art$2,500
Visit Waynesboro’s East Main DistrictBlue Ridge Bucha$5,000
Walk to Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles StoryThe Long Way Home, Inc$5,000
Waterford FairWaterford Foundation Inc.$3,000
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