Governor McAuliffe Announces Matching Tourism Grants

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File Photo:  Governor Terry McAuliffe File Photo: Governor Terry McAuliffe

Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe News Release:

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that more than $773,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 51 local tourism initiatives as part of the 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 229 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 $2.2 million, providing $3 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants give local tourism businesses the tools they need to succeed in an intensely competitive market,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The grants facilitate community partnerships, smart business decisions, and dissemination of tourism success stories. This program is another example of how we can help build a new Virginia economy, providing good jobs for our citizens and revenue for our communities.”

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.

“These grants are powerful and innovative tools for small businesses across the state,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Tourism is an important contributor to Virginia's economy, and these tourism marketing initiatives will help to attract new visitors to the Commonwealth. Continuing to support our diverse economy will help to ensure that Virginia remains one of the best places to live, work, play and raise a family.”

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open in April 2015. Localities interested in applying may visit www.vatc.org for more information.

Program Name

Lead Partner

Award Amount

Wachapreague Little City by the Sea-A playground for your passion

Town of Wachapreague


Floyd County Tourism Resource Triad - Marketing Project

Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, Inc.


East Coast Surfing Championships

Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships


Blacksburg 2015 Marketing Initiative

The Blacksburg Partnership


Waterford Homes Tour & Crafts Exhibit

Waterford Foundation, Inc.


Shop, Dine & Experience Historic Olde Towne Portsmouth

Portsmouth Department of Economic Development


Natural Bridge Park Re-Branding

Natural Bridge Park and Historic Hotel LLC


88th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival ® 'The Land of Pink & Green!'

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival


Virginia Beach Chill Fest

Vista Graphics


The Thomas Jefferson Craft Beer Festival

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest


Growing the Pulaski Marketplace

Pulaski County


2015 AFA Cycling Classic

Arlington Sports, Inc


Damascus Tourism

Town of Damascus


Virginia Watermen's Heritage Tour Marketing Program

Chesapeake Environmental Communications


Create Your Own Adventure

Virginia Highlands Festival


Southwest Virginia: Authentic, Distinctive, Alive Outdoors

Friends of Southwest Virginia


Alleghany Highlands Humpback Bridge and Blueway Marketing

Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism


Valentine Tours

The Valentine


Visit Richmond VA Culinary Video

Richmond Region Tourism


Mobile Website for Central Valley and Blue Ridge

Tourism Association of Greater Waynesboro


Marketing the Authentic Northern Neck

Northern Neck Tourism Commission


Virginia's Piedmont, America's Wine Country

Fauquier County


County of Bath Ad, Video Campaign and Website Upgrade 2015

County of Bath Tourism


Charles City County Tourism Task Force Marketing Program

Charles City County


Transport Yourself to Outdoor Adventure

Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce


Mountain Lake Awake!

Mountain Lake Conservancy


Virginia Family Thrills 2015

Busch Gardens


Virginia Capital Trail Foundation's Mobile Marketing Campaign

Virginia Capital Trail Foundation


Virginia is for Arts Lovers - Weekend Getaways in Virginia

Virginia Arts Festival


Poquoson, VA - Your Waterway Gateway to Adventure

City of Poquoson


Route 5 Tourism Destination Website

Scenic Virginia


Natural Chimneys Park Rack Card

Augusta County


Lower Appomattox RiverFest

Friends of the Lower Appomattox River


A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Miles: Art To Drive For

Taubman Museum of Art


Inns of Virginia Wine Country Getaway Collection

Virginia Wine in My Pocket


Warbirds Over the Beach

Military Aviation Museum


Virginia is for Music Lovers

Staunton Music Festival


Virginia's Mountain Playground Marketing Initiative – Phase I

Blue Ridge Travel Association


2015 Visit Loudoun Photography

Visit Loudoun


Run For The Dream

Flat-Out Events


Perfected Over 250 Years

Mecklenburg County Tourism Office


Big Stone Gap The Movie Regional Promotion Phase III

Town of Big Stone Gap


Museums, Festivals, Arts and More

Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley, Inc.


Ten for Ten

The Prizery


Virginia Golf Travel Promotion

Virginia Golf Packages


Plein Air Art Festival

Warm Springs Gallery


"Heart Rate" Marketing Campaign, Phase Two: Fish to Your Heart's Content

Heart of Appalachia


Rassawek Spring Jubilee 5th Anniversary

Rassawek Vineyards


Birthplace of Country Music –Multimedia Marketing and Branding Campaign

Birthplace of Country Music


American Ideal Research & Marketing Project

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership


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