~DRIVE Outdoor Grant Program to provide up to $20,000 in funds to spur economic growth for Virginia’s outdoor recreation industry~
RICHMOND – Today, the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) announced a new grant program aimed at growing Virginia’s outdoor economy. The DRIVE Outdoor grant program builds on the DRIVE 2.0 Statewide Strategic Plan to enhance outdoor recreational development, assets, and entrepreneurial opportunities within Virginia. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) receiving funds will be awarded up to $20,000 for outdoor recreation development projects.
“The DRIVE Outdoor Grant Program will be a gamechanger for economic development and a major investment in new outdoor recreation product across the Commonwealth, a destination already celebrated for its iconic outdoor offerings,” said Rita McClenny, President & CEO of VTC. “Virginia offers unparalleled outdoor experiences sought out by millions of people every year. With more than 100 miles of coastline, 41 state parks, 22 national parks, and 544 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail – more than any other state – Virginia is truly a best-in-class destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The DRIVE Outdoor Grant Program will only further solidify our reputation as a premier destination for outdoor lovers.”
“Growing our outdoor economy will spur job creation and private investment, further enhance Virginia’s brand as an outdoor destination, and yield endless opportunities for outdoor-focused tourism partnerships,” said Chris Canfield, Vice President of Partnership Marketing for VTC. “The DRIVE Outdoor program will play a key role in building our communities around outdoor activities, helping to further position Virginia as the top state on the East Coast for outdoor recreation and a natural fit for outdoor businesses. With 57% of Virginians participating in outdoor recreation each year, and nearly half of all overnight travelers coming to Virginia to participate in outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why Virginia is for Outdoor Lovers.”
Outdoor recreation has proven to be a recession-proof industry and a driving force in the American economy, generating $689 billion in economic output spending and supporting 4.3 million jobs across the country. In Virginia alone, outdoor recreation generates $8 billion annually and supports more than 104,000 jobs. The outdoor recreation economy also generates $4.4 billion in wages and salaries and represents a 1.5% share of Virginia’s overall GDP. Additionally, with outdoor experiences stretching from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia is an attractive destination for outdoor brands to establish or grow their presence. The Commonwealth is currently home to several major outdoor brands such as Orvis, Backcountry, and YakAttack.
DRIVE Outdoor grant outcomes must support outdoor recreation, and can be used towards outdoor recreational development, events, or business expansion.
The grant application period will be August 22, 2022 – September 16, 2022. The grant workshop cycle will be October 3, 2022 – March 3, 2022.