This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: September 20, 2016
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christina Nuckols, | Virginia Tourism Corporation: Caroline Logan, (804) 545-5572,

Governor McAuliffe Awards over $900,000 in Matching Tourism Grants

~Funds will generate $3.2 million in marketing initiatives for 43 local tourism programs~


RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that $927,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 43 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP). 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 159 other statewide tourism entities.

Through the MLP, local organizations must match state grant funds by a minimum of two to one to support marketing projects in order to receive funding. This funding cycle, local partners will match VTC grant dollars with more than $2.3 million, providing more than $3.2 million in new marketing efforts to increase visitation to Virginia.

“The grants offered by the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program provide tourism businesses with a powerful funding resource to market themselves to travelers both across the United States and internationally,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These funds provide localities and businesses across the Commonwealth with the necessary resources to continue to attract visitors and increase demand for Virginia products in the global marketplace. We will continue to support and expand our tourism outreach to spur growth for our communities and small businesses as we build the new Virginia economy.”

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 tourism-related entities. In total, VTC awards approximately $1.9 million annually – matched and leveraged, on average, three to one by partner dollars.

“These grants are significant for the Virginia tourism industry, as more than 70 percent of tourism businesses have annual marketing budgets of less than $10,000,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Every dollar invested in these grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Additionally, marketing campaigns receiving MLP grant funds increased visitation by 15 percent. This kind of effective marketing results in more travelers coming to Virginia to stay longer and spend more money, injecting critical dollars into our economy.”

Details on the grant awards are below:

Tourism Initiative


Grant Award

2016 Norfolk Festevents Marketing

Norfolk Festevents, Ltd.

$ 50,000

A Bright New Day in Winchester

Winchester-Frederick County Tourism

$ 48,134

A New Path To Jefferson: Developing a Tourism Friendly Website for Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

$ 10,000

Abingdon Arts in Profile

William King Museum of Art

$ 10,000

America's Historic Triangle Welcomes American Revolution Museum At Yorktown

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.

$ 50,000

artoberVA 2016


$ 18,340.50

Brand USA 2016 Program for China and the UK

Arlington Convention and Visitors Service

$ 14,907

Clarke County Fall Studio Tour

Clarke County Economic Development and Tourism

$ 5,000

Coastal Virginia Social Media Marketing Campaign

Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance

$ 6,665

Coastal Virginia: The Birthplace of American Cuisine

Professional Hospitality Resources, Inc.

$ 50,000

Expanded Market Promotions for Mountains of Music Homecoming

The Crooked Road

$ 50,000

Find it in Radford 2016

Radford Visitor's Center

$ 4,839

From Freedom to Flowers: Bringing Visitors to Roanoke through the Art of Attraction

Taubman Museum of Art

$ 25,000

Gather, Learn & Grow on Floyd's Blue Ridge Plateau

Festival Farm Productions LLC - Chantilly Farm

$ 5,000

Giles County Outdoor Destination Campaign

Giles County Tourism

$ 21,177

GO St Paul! Gathering Opportunity

Saint Paul Tomorrow

$ 3,738.50

Go to Town! Tourism Brand Launch Campaign

Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office

$ 15,000

Halifax County African American Heritage & Cultural Trail

Halifax County Department of Tourism

$ 2,250

Halifax County Restaurant Week

Town of South Boston

$ 2,000

Historic Downtown Wytheville: Gateway to Adventure

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

$ 50,000

Let The Heart of Appalachia Call You Home

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority

$ 50,000

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway

$ 50,000

Nottoway Visitor Packets

Downtown Blackstone, Inc.

$ 3,809

Public Relations and Native Advertising Campaign 2

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau

$ 25,000

PUSH! Film Festival Marketing Program

Believe in Bristol

$ 5,000

Radio Bristol – Crooked Road Radio Program

Birthplace of Country Music

$ 10,000

Richmond Region Outdoor Lifestyle Video

Richmond RegionTourism

$ 10,000

Riverside Center is for Theater Lovers

Riverside Center for the Performing Arts

$ 10,000

Roanoke Go Outside Festival

Roanoke Go Outside Festival

$ 6,750

Seasonless Sensation: A Return to Abingdon

Barter Theatre

$ 10,000

Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

Staunton CVB

$ 50,000

Shocktober Takes Over October

Paxton Campus

$ 10,000

Southwest Virginia Craft Beer Marketing Initiative

Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau

$ 10,000

Southwest Virginia Wine Trail


$ 5,000 Website

Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia

$ 23,926

Story Telling in Virginia's Blue Ridge

Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

$ 50,000

Summers in Pulaski

Town of Pulaski

$ 3,750

This Is Our Rush Hour:  Shenandoah County Marketing Campaign

Shendandoah County

$ 50,000

Virginia Capital Trail Video Marketing

Virginia Capital Trail Foundation

$ 10,000

Virginia is for "Opera" Lovers: Fall in Love with Opera AND Virginia

Virginia Opera

$ 50,000

Virginia Wine and Brine

Chatham Vineyards

$ 21,000

Virginia's Artisan and Oyster Trails - Responsive & Visible

Artisans Center of Virginia

$ 10,000

Visit Mecklenburg Website Reimagining and Launch

Mecklenburg County Tourism Office

$ 10,500

The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants are now open and are due on November 30, 2016. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported 223,100 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes for the Commonwealth. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a five to one return in tax revenue for Virginia, and grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue. For more information on the Virginia tourism industry, please visit