Thursday, January 2, 2014

Governor McDonnell Announces Matching Tourism Grants, Gloucester Gets Nothing

English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / ...
English: The state seal of Virginia.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Program will generate nearly $4 million in marketing initiatives
42 local tourism partners to receive public-private marketing dollars to bolster economy; grants will impact at least 184 statewide tourism entities

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that more than $750,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 42 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Grant program. The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 184 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with nearly $3 million, providing nearly $4 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

“These grants are an important tool that will enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors,” said Governor McDonnell. “More visitors in Virginia mean greater tax revenue, a better business environment, and more good jobs for Virginians.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2012 tourism generated $21.2 billion in revenue, supported 210,000 jobs and provided $1.36 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

VTC’s 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 not-for-profit entities.  In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually - matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars - to more than 80 communities across the Commonwealth.

“These grants enable local tourism partners to pursue projects that might otherwise be beyond their budget,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “The Marketing Leverage Grants program is a powerful tool in helping to support and grow a robust economy in Virginia. Our local partners are working on amazing projects and campaigns that will help to beautify communities, bring more visitors to Virginia, and create even more outstanding tourism products that visitors will continue to fall in love with year after year.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open in spring 2014. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.

Town of Big Stone Gap
Big Stone Gap The Movie Regional Promotion
$ 5,000.00
Garth Newel Music Center
Great Escapes: Garth Newel Music Center and Fort Lewis Lodge
$ 25,000.00
Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau
Create Repeat Visitation Through Stellar Customer Service
$ 50,000.00
Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority
Appalachian Backroads - Motorcycle & Scenic Driving Tours/Trails
$ 10,000.00
City of Salem-Tourism Office
Summer Love in Salem
$ 50,000.00
Museum of the Confederacy
Countdown to the Sesquicentennial
$ 14,500.00
Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau
Fun for Everyone: Festivals & Events in the Wytheville Area
$ 50,000.00
Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office
Content Creation for Inaugural Montgomery County Regional Website and Visitor's Guide
$ 20,000.00
Virginia Arts Festival
Engage, Inspire, Build - Embracing Social & Digital Media to Expand Audiences
$ 50,000.00
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District 2014-2016 Marketing Campaign
$ 25,360.00
Friends of the Culpeper County Library
Culpeper Tells…A Festival of Words
$ 8,750.00
The Crooked Road
Miles & Miles of Music Festival
$ 50,000.00
Surry County Government
Branding Surry County: Yes, Virginia, There is a Surry County

$ 50,000.00
Appalachian Sustainable Development
Get Rooted in Appalachia - Local Food Campaign
$ 31,900.00
Visit Loudoun Foundation
Visit Loudoun Research Program
$ 25,860.00
Paralyzed Veterans of America, Mid-Atlantic Chapter
The Richmond Regional Ride Center (RRRC)
$ 10,000.00
Halifax County Dept. of Tourism
Halifax-Mecklenburg Blueway
$ 10,000.00
City of Alexandria, Office of Historic Alexandria
Alexandria War of 1812 Commemoration
$ 10,000.00
County of Mecklenburg
Petersburg to Appomattox Campaign
$ 13,500.00
Abingdon Main Street
Shop, Dine, Play and Stay Downtown
$ 5,000.00
Waynesboro Parks and Recreation
Valley Race Series Promotion
$ 2,500.00
Historic Manassas Inc Website Makeover
$ 4,250.00
Martinsville-Henry County EDC's Tourism & Film Division
Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia: A Visual Tour
$ 3,516.50
Smyth County Tourism Association
Southwest Virginia Flyfishing Trail
$ 15,310.33
Visit Loudoun
Epicurience Virginia
$ 50,000.00
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center
Luray and Page County: Beauty and Adventure on Every Level
$ 25,000.00
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
87th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival ‘The Land of Pink & Green!’
$ 25,000.00
Rassawek Vineyard
Visit Goochland/Rassawek Spring Jubilee
$ 2,500.00
Starr Hill Brewery LLC
Starr Hill Brewery 2013 Marketing and Events Program
$ 25,000.00
City of Poquoson
Poquoson is the Place for Tourism
$ 2,557.50
Coastal Virginia Wine Fest
$ 12,500.00
Out of the Woodwork Productions
The Virginia Renaissance Faire Marketing for 2013-14
$ 4,988.27
Mountain Cove Vineyard
Jefferson Heritage Trail
$ 5,000.00
Virginia Highland Festival
Get Your Kicks
$ 6,281.50
Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission
Fields of Gold - Shenandoah Valley's Farm Trail
$ 3,250.00
Ashland Main Street Association
Find Your Passion in Ashland: The Center of Universe
$ 5,000.00
Tall Ships at Cape Charles Festival 2014
$ 5,000.00
Madison Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
Madison County Tourism “Ride, Hike, Taste, Stay”
$ 5,000.00
The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce
Good Times, Tastes & Traditions; featuring Farming in the Valley
$ 5,000.00
Orange Downtown Alliance
edible Food Fest in Orange
$ 5,000.00
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center
Tennis is for Lovers in Virginia Beach
$ 25,000.00
Cove Ridge Foundation
Virginia Is For Lovers of Southwest Virginia Mountain Parks
$ 2,500.00

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit to start planning a vacation or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

Our Notes:

We have noticed that Gloucester, VA did not get one penny for matching funds from the state?  One has to wonder why?  Did local officials fail to apply?  Did local officials apply but because of activities we constantly report on here the county was refused matching funds for their lack of compliance in so many areas?  We think these are valid questions to ask.  It looks like the county missed out on some very serious money and opportunities to pull in additional revenue for the county.  One has to wonder.
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