Monday, September 22, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Announces Matching Tourism Grants

Program will generate more than $3 million in marketing initiatives
46 local tourism partners to receive public-private marketing dollars to bolster economy; grants will impact at least 195 statewide tourism entities

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that more than $852,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 46 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage 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 195 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 more than $2.1 million, providing more than $3 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

“These grants equip local tourism businesses with the tools they need to stay competitive,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The Marketing Leverage Program grants help support and grow a robust and diversified new Virginia economy and encourage strategic marketing of tourism products and businesses across the Commonwealth, generating revenue and jobs.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2013, tourism generated $21.5 billion in revenue, supported 213,000 jobs and provided $1.42 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.

“The grants are supporting businesses across the Commonwealth, contributing to the overall economic health of our communities,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade.“The state’s investment maximizes local marketing funds, allowing for localities to double and sometimes triple their marketing power to attract more visitors. This is a powerful tool for small businesses across the state.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open September 29, 2014. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.

Grant Program Name

Lead Partner

Award Amount

Capture the Clinch

Clinch River Adventures


Bush Mill: Millstones, Mountains, Memories

Southwest Virginia Community Foundation


Music, Milk & Marketing

Lee County


Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail

Great Country Farms


America's Historic Triangle Marketing Program

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Inc


This is RVA Launch

Valentine Richmond History Center


Virginia By Rail



Humpback Bridge - History Over the Water

Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism


Claw of the Dragon Southwest Virginia Motorcycle Trail

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau


"Heart Rate" Campaign

Heart of Appalachia


What's Your Bot-e-Type? Social Media Campaign

Botetourt County Office of Tourism


Authentic Abingdon Overnight: Experience Culture, Make Memories

Barter Theatre


Blue Ridge Standard Time Campaign

Roanoke Valley CVB


Middlesex County Marketing Initiative

Middlesex County


Historic Downtown Wytheville - Where the LOVE is!

Bolling Wilson Hotel


My Bristol Visit

Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau


More of What Matters Campaign

Mecklenburg County Tourism Office


Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest


New River Valley Trail Guide

New River Valley Planning District Commission


Rappahannock River Community Branding

Town of Kilmarnock


Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival at Patrick Henry's Red Hill

Red Hill, Patrick Henry National Memorial


Hunter's Raid Civil War Trail

Lexington and Rockbridge Area Tourism


Believe in Bristol Digital Marketing Platform

Believe in Bristol


Find Your Sweet Spot In Highland County

Highland County Economic Development Authority


Virginia Science Festival

Science Museum of Western Virginia


Fall Oyster Fests on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission


Route 5 Tourism Website and Take 5! Marketing Campaign

The Route 5 Corridor Coalition


Richmond Garden Trail

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden


Promoting the Shenandoah Valley as a Green Wedding Destination

Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables


Virginia is for "Opera" Lovers

Virginia Opera


Salvage Dawgs Weekend Getaway

Black Dog Salvage


Smith Mountain Lake Online Marketing and Responsive Website

Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce


Tom Tom Founders Festival

Tom Tom Foundation


Explore the Depths…Newport News Museums Revealed!

The Mariners' Museum


Declare Your Independence with a Northern Neck Getaway

Stratford Hall - the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association


"Come Play Outdoors!" Shenandoah County Outdoor Recreation

Shenandoah County


Big Stone Gap The Movie Regional Promotion Phase II

Town of Big Stone Gap


It’s Always Playtime in Abingdon - TV and Digital Campaign

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau


Northern Virginia Canadian Marketing Campaign

Northern Virginia Visitors Consortium


Engaging Visitors all Across Virginia's Artisan and Oyster Trails

Artisan Center of Virginia


Bringing Castleton to the World

Castleton Festival


Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k Marketing Initiative

Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers


Choose Your Own (Staunton) Adventure

American Shakespeare Center


Find Yourself in the Heart of Southwest Virginia

Russell County Board of Supervisors


Virginia Fall Foliage Art Show

Fall Foliage Festival Art Show


NoVa Loves the Blues

Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization


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