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
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
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
Cape Charles Art Soaked Weekends: July 2017
Experimental Film Virginia
Celebrating Virginia in NYC with 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
Downtown Blacksburg – 2017 Campaign
Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.
Appomattox County Chamber of Commerce
Russell County Tourism
Fairfax County Interactive Rich Media Advertising Campaign
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
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
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
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
SquirreLee University Marketing Initiative
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
Shenandoah Valley Travel Association
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
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