By Tyler Woodall

Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia’s tourism programs are set to have a major payday after an announcement from Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday. More than $722,000 in matching funds from the state will be awarded to local tourism initiatives across the commonwealth.

The funding comes as a part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program, which helps tourism entities attract more visitors from across the country.

This year, the funding cycle saw local partners commit more than $3.46 million to match the VTC grants, bringing the total to over $4.4 million in marketing funds. This is the highest dollar amount matched by partners ever in a funding cycle, state officials said.

The funds will aim to increase visitation to Virginia and ultimately impact more than 264 statewide tourism entities. The 264 entities receiving funding are the most in the history of the program.

“The Marketing and Leverage Program grants provide a vital opportunity for destinations and businesses across the commonwealth, helping to create jobs promote economic development and increase visitor spending,” McAuliffe said as he congratulated the tourism partners receiving funding.

If a tourism entity wants to receive a grant, it must partner with at least three other entities, which may include a visitors’ bureau or an area’s destination attraction or event.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants provide vital funding to our tourism businesses across the commonwealth, helping to make Virginia an incredible place to visit but also live,” said Todd Haymore, the state’s secretary of commerce and trade.

One event that received funding is the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. The festival, which runs from April 28 through May 7, will get $25,000 from the VTC.

“The funding for this year will help us and allow us to spend more money in a way to get the word out,” said Dario Savarese, marketing and sponsorship coordinator for the Apple Blossom Festival, which is celebrating its 90th year. “It becomes very difficult because advertising is expensive.”

Tourism is a significant revenue producer for the commonwealth. In 2015, it generated $23 billion and supported more than 223,000 jobs while providing $1.6 billion in state and local taxes, state officials said.

List of grant recipients and amounts they received

Program Name

Lead Partner

Award Amount

1864 Shenandoah Campaign Film and Third Winchester Orientation Film

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation


2017 VA Commonwealth Games at Liberty University – Border State Outreach

Virginia Amateur Sports


90th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival


Alleghany Highlands Arts & Mountain Heritage

Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism


Artisan Trail Network: Ever Expanding, Evolving & Engaging

Artisans Center of Virginia


Back of the Dragon

Tazewell County


Bike the Valley Marketing Program

Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission


Biplanes and Triplanes

Military Aviation Museum


Birthplace of Country Music – Marketing Campaign for 90th Anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions

Birthplace of Country Music


Blue Ridge Root to Table

Nibblins LLC


Cape Charles Art Soaked Weekends: July 2017

Experimental Film Virginia


Celebrating Virginia in NYC with Richmond Ballet

Richmond Ballet


Create Your Own Story in Wytheville, Virginia

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau


Damascus, Crossing Paths

Town of Damascus


Danville Pittsylvania County Tourism Advisory Committee

Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce


Discover Bristol Marketing Initiative

Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau


Discover the Birthplace of American Wine: Revamping of Brand Identity and Online Presence.

Monticello Wine Trail


Discover Virginia’s Romantic Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop – “Where Mountains, Wine & Adventure meet

Discover Shenandoah


Downtown Blacksburg – 2017 Campaign

Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.


Experience Appomattox

Appomattox County Chamber of Commerce


Experience Russell

Russell County Tourism


Fairfax County Interactive Rich Media Advertising Campaign

Visit Fairfax


Farm-to-Fork in Luray & Page County

Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce


Get Outside and Play “in the Burg”

Back Home on the Farm


Glass Arts Conference/Spring Marketing

Chrysler Museum of Art


Hampton Roads Sports Commission

Hampton Roads Sports Commission


Key to the City

Visit Alexandria


Kick Up Your Heels

Virginia Highlands Festival


Lex It Up!

Rockbridge Area Tourism


Marketing the 40th Anniversary of the Richmond Marathon

Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers


Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway


Music Lovers Weekend Getaway Package

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, Inc.


Newport News Craft Beer Tourism Program

Economic Development Authority of the City of Newport News, Virginia


NVVC 2017 Canada Program

Visit Loudoun


Olde Towne Portsmouth Summer Arts Promotion

Olde Towne Business Association


Richmond Beer Trail Marketing Campaign – Spring 2017

Richmond Region Tourism


Roanoke River Blueway Promotion

Roanoke Valley – Alleghany Regional Commission


Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail Magazine

Shen. Valley Wine Growers Assn.


Showcasing the Blue Ridge Parkway



Simply Panache Getaways

Mango Mangeaux, LLC


Southwest Virginia Outdoor Expo



Southwest Virginia: “A Different Side of Virginia” Multimedia Marketing and Branding Initiative

Friends of Southwest Virginia


Spartan Race

Infinity Downs


SquirreLee University Marketing Initiative

Stratford Hall


Starr Hill Brewery IPA JamBEERee & Hop On Tour Promotions

Starr Hill Brewery


The Breaks: Centuries of Struggle

Breaks Interstate Park


The Crooked Road Visitor Guide 2017

The Crooked Road


The Perfect Getaway … Is Not So Far Away

Northern Neck Tourism Commission


The Year of Discovery

Virginia Museum of Natural History Foundation


Thomas Jefferson Craft Beer Tasting Event

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest


Today’s Shenandoah Valley

Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission


Tom Founders Festival

Tom Founders Festival


Virginia is for Music Lovers

Virginia Arts Festival


Virginia Marine Trades Association – Boat Virginia

Virginia Marine Trades Association


Virginia’s River Realm Brand Videos

Town of Kilmarnock


VirginiaSpirits.org Phase 2 Launch

Virginia Distillers Association


Visit Shenandoah

Shenandoah Valley Travel Association


Waterford Fair

Waterford Foundation, Inc.


Website Creation – Abingdon, VA

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau


Website Rebuild and Design and Update Marketing Materials and Images

Garth Newel Music Center


Western Front Hotel … Experience Southwest Virginia!

Western Front Hotel


Williamsburg Harvest Celebration

Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance



The post State announces $722,000 in tourism grants appeared first on The Virginia Free Citizen.

Show more