Governor McDonnell Announces Tourism Marketing Grants~Grant program to generate nearly $4 million in marketing initiatives~
RICHMOND, Va. (August 15, 2013) - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that nearly $1 million in matching grant funds will be awarded to 54 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation's Marketing Leverage Grant program. The grants help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 282 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 to create marketing projects such as web sites, signage, social media, and advertisements. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with nearly $3 million, providing $4 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.
"Grants such as these enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors," said Governor McDonnell. "When more visitors come to Virginia, the localities and the Commonwealth realize increased tax revenue, businesses prosper, and new jobs are created."
Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2011 tourism generated $20.4 billion in revenue, supported 207,000 jobs and provided $1.32 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 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 undertake projects that might otherwise be beyond their fiscal reach," said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. "The Marketing Leverage Grants program supports initiatives by our partners that make Virginia the best place to live, work, and play. VTC is proud to have a real impact on the ideas and programs that organizations around the state have to support the tourism industry and economy as a whole."
Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants are due October 22, 2013. Localities interested in applying may visit www.vatc.org for more information.
Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit www.Virginia.org to start planning a vacation or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.
Office of the Governor
Virginia Tourism Corporation