Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced more than $890,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 57 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP).
The MLP grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $4 million to match the VTC grants, providing more than $4.9 million in new marketing funds to increase travel to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact at least 232 other statewide tourism entities.
“Tourism continues to be one of the fastest-growing and most innovative industries in Virginia, proving to be a substantial revenue generator year after year,” said Gov. Northam. “Across the Commonwealth, tourism businesses recognize the importance of having inventive, strategic marketing initiatives to showcase all that Virginia has to offer. These grants will support those efforts and help draw thousands of additional visitors to the Commonwealth to experience everything that makes Virginia so special–our scenic beauty, exciting restaurants, historic sites, music venues and festivals, charming small towns, oysters, wine, craft beer and more.”
The MLP 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. The VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually–matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars.
Find Your River Fun in Virginia’s River Realm received $10,000. The Town of Kilmarnock is the lead partner in the Virginia’s River Realm initiative.
“The MLP grants continue to inject critical funds into communities across the Commonwealth, helping to make Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The tourism industry is a huge economic engine for Virginia. Last year, visitors spent $25 billion, which supported 232,000 jobs and contributed $1.73 billion in state and local taxes. By leveraging these marketing funds and public-private partnerships, the MLP grants will help spur even more economic activity, funneling dollars back into our cities and towns across Virginia.”