~ Program will generate more than $18 million in marketing initiatives and support more than 1,100 partners in the tourism economic ecosystem ~
RICHMOND – To kick off National Travel & Tourism Week, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today that more than $3.2 million in matching grant and sponsorship funds will be awarded to 236 tourism programs as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Regional Marketing, Marketing Leverage, and VA250 Marketing Leverage programs.
These funding programs are designed to leverage local marketing dollars with matching state funds to increase visitation and traveler spending through 2024. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $15.5 million to match the VTC funding, providing more than $18.5 million in new marketing and event production activity focused on increasing overnight visitation to Virginia. The funding will be awarded to 236 marketing programs, ultimately impacting 1,161 combined partners.
“VTC’s marketing and sponsorship programs are powerful incentives creating tourism partnerships across Virginia that are a robust part of Virginia’s economic ecosystem,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “From first-time applicants like Foxfield Races and Paradise Springs Winery to large music festivals in Hampton Roads and Southwest Virginia driving inbound overnight visitation, these programs show that tourism and tourism partnerships help Virginia’s vibrant communities grow and thrive.”
VTC’s tourism marketing and sponsorship programs are designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships, and to extend the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand to drive visitation. Using the hub and spoke tourism partnership model, Virginia entities partner to apply for funding. 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 tourism-related businesses.
The Virginia Regional Marketing Programs assist Virginia Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and established Virginia special events and festivals with marketing and/or production. The Marketing Leverage Program is a program to leverage existing marketing funds available to Virginia travel industry partners including small businesses, DMOs, private sector attractions, accommodations, and events. The VA250 Tourism Marketing Program is a partnership between the VA250 Commission and Virginia Tourism Corporation and is designed to support, promote, and market programming, events, and interpretive signage specifically related to the framework of America’s 250th commemoration.
“Driving inbound out-of-state overnight visitation is a key economic strategy and the VTC grant and sponsorship programs help create unique partnerships that have tangible economic impacts across Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Many of these programs also support regional marketing initiatives designed to encourage Virginians to explore their own state.”
VTC will have a VA250 Tourism Marketing Program grant round and a Microbusiness Marketing Leverage Program grant round opening in Summer and Fall 2023. Organizations and businesses that are interested in applying may visit vatc.org/grants for more information.
A full list of funding recipients can be found here.