State announces $722,000 in tourism grants

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By Tyler Woodall

Capital News Service


RICHMOND – Virginia’s tourism programs are set to have a major payday after an announcement from Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday. More than $722,000 in matching funds from the state will be awarded to local tourism initiatives across the commonwealth.

The funding comes as a part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program, which helps tourism entities attract more visitors from across the country.

This year, the funding cycle saw local partners commit more than $3.46 million to match the VTC grants, bringing the total to over $4.4 million in marketing funds. This is the highest dollar amount matched by partners ever in a funding cycle, state officials said.

The funds will aim to increase visitation to Virginia and ultimately impact more than 264 statewide tourism entities. The 264 entities receiving funding are the most in the history of the program.

“The Marketing and Leverage Program grants provide a vital opportunity for destinations and businesses across the commonwealth, helping to create jobs promote economic development and increase visitor spending,” McAuliffe said as he congratulated the tourism partners receiving funding.

If a tourism entity wants to receive a grant, it must partner with at least three other entities, which may include a visitors’ bureau or an area’s destination attraction or event.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants provide vital funding to our tourism businesses across the commonwealth, helping to make Virginia an incredible place to visit but also live,” said Todd Haymore, the state’s secretary of commerce and trade.

One event that received funding is the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. The festival, which runs from April 28 through May 7, will get $25,000 from the VTC.

“The funding for this year will help us and allow us to spend more money in a way to get the word out,” said Dario Savarese, marketing and sponsorship coordinator for the Apple Blossom Festival, which is celebrating its 90th year. “It becomes very difficult because advertising is expensive.”

Tourism is a significant revenue producer for the commonwealth. In 2015, it generated $23 billion and supported more than 223,000 jobs while providing $1.6 billion in state and local taxes, state officials said.


List of grant recipients and amounts they received

Program Name Lead Partner Award Amount
1864 Shenandoah Campaign Film and Third Winchester Orientation Film Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation $8,515
2017 VA Commonwealth Games at Liberty University – Border State Outreach Virginia Amateur Sports $5,000
90th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival $25,000
Alleghany Highlands Arts & Mountain Heritage Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism $14,700
Artisan Trail Network: Ever Expanding, Evolving & Engaging Artisans Center of Virginia $7,866.50
Back of the Dragon Tazewell County $5,000
Bike the Valley Marketing Program Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission $12,500
Biplanes and Triplanes Military Aviation Museum $5,000
Birthplace of Country Music – Marketing Campaign for 90th Anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions Birthplace of Country Music $25,000
Blue Ridge Root to Table Nibblins LLC $25,000
Cape Charles Art Soaked Weekends: July 2017 Experimental Film Virginia $5,000
Celebrating Virginia in NYC with Richmond Ballet Richmond Ballet $13,232
Create Your Own Story in Wytheville, Virginia Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau $25,000
Damascus, Crossing Paths Town of Damascus $5,000
Danville Pittsylvania County Tourism Advisory Committee Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce $25,000
Discover Bristol Marketing Initiative Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau $25,000
Discover the Birthplace of American Wine: Revamping of Brand Identity and Online Presence. Monticello Wine Trail $5,000
Discover Virginia’s Romantic Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop – “Where Mountains, Wine & Adventure meet Discover Shenandoah $2,500
Downtown Blacksburg – 2017 Campaign Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. $4,500
Experience Appomattox Appomattox County Chamber of Commerce $4,500
Experience Russell Russell County Tourism $5,000
Fairfax County Interactive Rich Media Advertising Campaign Visit Fairfax $12,500
Farm-to-Fork in Luray & Page County Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce $25,000
Get Outside and Play “in the Burg” Back Home on the Farm $12,448.50
Glass Arts Conference/Spring Marketing Chrysler Museum of Art $14,317
Hampton Roads Sports Commission Hampton Roads Sports Commission $5,000
Key to the City Visit Alexandria $25,000
Kick Up Your Heels Virginia Highlands Festival $9,350
Lex It Up! Rockbridge Area Tourism $23,000.50
Marketing the 40th Anniversary of the Richmond Marathon Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers $25,000
Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Speedway $25,000
Music Lovers Weekend Getaway Package Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, Inc. $5,000
Newport News Craft Beer Tourism Program Economic Development Authority of the City of Newport News, Virginia $5,000
NVVC 2017 Canada Program Visit Loudoun $9,375
Olde Towne Portsmouth Summer Arts Promotion Olde Towne Business Association $2,250
Richmond Beer Trail Marketing Campaign – Spring 2017 Richmond Region Tourism $5,583
Roanoke River Blueway Promotion Roanoke Valley – Alleghany Regional Commission $5,000
Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail Magazine Shen. Valley Wine Growers Assn. $7,500
Showcasing the Blue Ridge Parkway Primland $25,000
Simply Panache Getaways Mango Mangeaux, LLC $5,000
Southwest Virginia Outdoor Expo Heartwood $5,000
Southwest Virginia: “A Different Side of Virginia” Multimedia Marketing and Branding Initiative Friends of Southwest Virginia $25,000
Spartan Race Infinity Downs $17,500
SquirreLee University Marketing Initiative Stratford Hall $4,976
Starr Hill Brewery IPA JamBEERee & Hop On Tour Promotions Starr Hill Brewery $14,932.50
The Breaks: Centuries of Struggle Breaks Interstate Park $15,500
The Crooked Road Visitor Guide 2017 The Crooked Road $13,100
The Perfect Getaway … Is Not So Far Away Northern Neck Tourism Commission

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