This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2015
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260, | Virginia Tourism Corporation: Caroline Logan, 804-545-5572,

Governor McAuliffe Announces Matching Tourism Grants

~Program will generate $3.3 million in marketing initiatives~


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that more than $796,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 45 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program. The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 173 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.5 million, providing more than $3.3 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia. 

Speaking about today’s announcement at an event in Abingdon, Governor McAuliffe said, “Programs like this will continue to diversify the economy in this region and attract visitors and jobs to these communities. When we invest in our tourism businesses, we are helping to build a new Virginia economy and make the Commonwealth the best place to live, work, and raise a family.” 

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2014 tourism generated $22.4 billion in revenue, supported 217,000 jobs and provided $1.5 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue. 

“The Marketing Leverage Program is a great example of a partnership between state and local enterprises to drive tourism,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The tourism industry is a key economic driver in the Commonwealth, supporting thousands of jobs and bringing businesses and visitors to see all Virginia has to offer.” 

VTC’s Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships, and extending the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand.  A minimum of three Virginia entities must partner financially to apply for a grant.  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 not-for-profit entities.  In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually - matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars. 

Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants is now open. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.


Program Name

Lead Partner

Award Amount

Middleburg Film Festival

Middleburg Film Festival


Virginia Brazilian Festival

Tucanos Brazilian Grill


Half-Mile of Mayhem - Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway


Wine, Music and More all along the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop

Discover Shenandoah


Botetourt Wine and Brewery Trail

Botetourt County Office of Tourism


Discover Dinwiddie – Define Your Experience

County of Dinwiddie


The Art of Food with a side of Heart-Pumping Adventure

Harrisonburg Tourism & Visitor Services


Artisans Studio Tour Association

Artisans Studio Tour Association; Crozet, VA


Lynchburg Regional CVB -  Website Development

Lynchburg Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau


Starr Hill Brewery 2015 Brand Refresh & Marketing Program

Starr Hill Brewery


Lockn' Festival

Lockn' Festival


Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival

Eastern Shore Eventacular, Inc.


Mountains of Adventure

Tazewell County


The Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival at Patrick Henry's Red Hill

Red Hill, Patrick Henry National Memorial


Hampton Roads Sports Commission

Hampton Roads Sports Commission


2016 SWVA Lavender Trail

Beagle Ridge Herb Farm


Wytheville...There's Only One

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau


Patsy Cline Historic House & Music Festival

Celebrating Patsy Cline, Inc.


New Ways to Market America's Historic Triangle

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.


Millennial Marketing Campaign

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau


Lexington/Rockbridge Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Campaign

Rockbridge Area Tourism


Virginia Oyster Country: Taste the River Life This Fall

County of Middlesex Virginia


Virginia Cider Association

Cobbler Mountain Cider


Curvy in All the Right Places! - Downtown Lynchburg, A City of Seven Hills

Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center


Museums of Middlesex Marketing Leverage Grant

Deltaville Maritime Museum


Mercy Street

Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association d/b/a Visit Alexandria


Norfolk Festevents Marketing 2015-2016

Norfolk Festevents, Ltd.


Fields of Gold - See You on the Farm Trail

Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission


Virginia’s Artisan and Oyster Trails - Visitor Invitational Events

Artisans Center of Virginia


"Road to China" Cultural Exchange

Richmond Ballet


Southern Virginia  Wild Blueway

Halifax County Department of Tourism


Castleton Festival brings Jazz at Lincoln Center to Virginia

Castleton Festival


Virginia is for "Opera" Lovers

Virginia Opera


History on the Move:  Mobile-Responsive Website for “Shenandoah at War”

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation


Virginia Creeper Trail Website

Virginia Creeper Trail Club


Have you Experienced Lee County?

Lee County, VA


Anthem Richmond Marathon Marketing Initiative

Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers


Time to Climb Campaign

Explore More Discovery Museum


2015 Smith Mountain Lake Virginia Brochure

Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce


WBCM Radio Bristol –Marketing Launch Campaign

Birthplace of Country Music


Become a Local at the Abingdon Farmers Market

Appalachian Sustainable Development


Historic Aberdeen Gardens: Sharing a New Deal Settlement Community with Virginia Visitors

The Historical Foundation of Aberdeen Gardens Inc.


The Floyd Yoga Jam

The Floyd Yoga Jam


Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest


The River, The Trail and Small Town Fun

City of Galax Tourism Office