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|