Four regional organizations were among 42 entities statewide to receive matching tourism grants last week from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office.
McDonnell’s office announced more than $750,000 in funding as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Grant program. The governor’s office said the grants are designed to increase economic development through tourism and will impact at least 184 tourism entities statewide.
“These grants are an important tool that will enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors,” McDonnell said in a press release. “More visitors in Virginia mean greater tax revenue, a better business environment, and more good jobs for Virginians.”
The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2 to 1 in order to support marketing projects. For the 2013 cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with nearly $3 million, providing a total of nearly $4 million in new marketing to increase tourism in Virginia.
“These grants enable local tourism partners to undertake projects that might otherwise be beyond their fiscal reach,” VTC President and CEO Rita McClenny said. “The Marketing Leverage Grants program supports initiatives by our partners that make Virginia the best place to live, work and play. VTC is proud to have a real impact on the ideas and programs that organizations around the state have to support the tourism industry and economy as a whole.”
Local recipients of the grants include Appalachian Sustainable Development, the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority, the town of Big Stone Gap and the Cove Ridge Foundation.
ASD’s grant, which totaled $31,900, was the largest amount of the four. The nonprofit will use the money for its Get Rooted in Appalachia local food campaign.
“We’re so happy to be awarded this money,” ASD Executive Director Kathlyn Terry said. “It’s earmarked to help us with marketing and promotion for our Rooted in Appalachia consumer campaign. We’ll be able to explain how local farmers are connecting to local businesses and how consumers can find the locally grown and produced items they want.”
Also receiving grant funds locally was the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority. The Authority will use its $10,000 grant to assist with its Appalachian Backroads initiative, which focuses on motorcycle and scenic driving tours and trails.
In addition to those allocations, the town of Big Stone Gap was given a $5,000 grant to assist with regional promotion of “Big Stone Gap: The Movie,” while the Cove Ridge Foundation received $2,500 for its “Virginia Is For Lovers of Southwest Virginia Mountain Parks” campaign.