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News & Press: 2018 Economic Development News

Governor Northam Announces 56 Local Tourism Programs to Receive Public-Private Marketing Funds...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018  
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Governor Northam Announces 56 Local Tourism Programs to Receive Public-Private Marketing Funds to Bolster Growth


~ Program will generate more than $3.9 million in marketing initiatives, impact more than 230 statewide tourism entities ~ 


RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $840,000 in matching grant funds to be awarded to 56 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP).  The MLP grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $3.1 million to match the VTC grants, providing more than $3.9 million in new marketing funds to increase visitation to Virginia. The grants will ultimately impact at least 232 other statewide tourism entities.

“Virginia’s tourism industry is a key pillar of our economy and growing it is a great way to create new jobs and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “These grants help communities across the Commonwealth discover new ways to market themselves to travelers by creating new tourism products and enhancing existing attractions and destinations. These efforts improve the visitor experience, making it easy for travelers to discover why Virginia is for Lovers.”


The VTC 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 businesses. In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually - matched and leveraged on average of 3:1 by partner dollars.


“The Marketing Leverage Program grants continue to provide critical funding for our tourism businesses across the state, and demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships,” said Esther Lee, Secretary of Commerce & Trade. “These dollars are injected into local economies across the Commonwealth, helping to create vibrant communities and premier destinations that attract travelers from all over the world. These efforts help to ensure that Virginia remains the best state in the nation not only to visit, but to live, work, and raise a family.”


Details on the grant awards are below. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open on April 10, 2018, with a June 26, 2018 deadline. Localities interested in applying may visit for more information.


A full list of Marketing Leverage Program grant recipients can be found below:

Program Name

Lead Partner

Award Amount

"A Walk Through History": Augmented Reality Project at Museum

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation


"Untap the Possibilities” ~ Suffolk, Virginia’s Craft Brew Marketing Initiative

Suffolk Division of Tourism


“Discover Shenandoah” Weddings Drink Virginia Wine and Spirits

Discover Shenandoah


91st Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival


A Masterwork in Progress

William King Museum of Art


Biplanes and Brews

Military Aviation Museum


Birthplace of Country Music – 2018 Video Development Project and Marketing Campaign

Birthplace of Country Music


Blue to New Regional Agritourism Brand Launch

Giles County


Boat to the Beach

Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce


Brand USA Road Trip Video

Arlington Convention and Visitors Service


Breaks Adventure Athlete Films

Breaks Interstate Park


Celebrating 25 Years of Vacations

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority


Come to the Mountains of Southwest Virginia

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts


Crab Orchard Museum Website & Marketing

Crab Orchard Museum


Craft Beer & Music Festival- weekend in Exmore, VA

ESO Arts Center


Damascus - A Friendly Shoulder

Town of Damascus


Discover Bristol 2018 Creative Content Development and Marketing Campaign

Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau


Discover Inspiration On Every Corner

Weyanoke Hotel


Erik the Travel Guy goes to Montgomery County VA

Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office


Experience Appomattox Marketing Campaign

Appomattox Chamber of Commerce


Experience Russell Phase II: Climb High & Float Easy

Russell County Tourism


Explore the New River City—How One Family Helped Shape Virginia

Radford Heritage Foundation


Find It In Farmville: Phase II

Town of Farmville


Genuine Smithfield and Isle of Wight Mobile Responsive Website

Smithfield & IOW Tourism


GoChesapeake / Chesapeake Passport

Virginia Water Tourism Corp


Hampton Roads Soccer Council (Hampton Roads Soccer Complex and North American Sand Soccer Championship)

Hampton Roads Soccer Council


Hanover Virginia Tourism Marketing Campaign

Center of the Universe Brewing Co.


Heroes of Music & Music for Heroes - Discover Virginia through the Arts

Virginia Arts Festival


I love this ______. Fill in your blank in the Shenandoah Valley

Massanutten Bike Park


Let the Exploration Begin Washington, DC Campaign

Shenandoah Caverns


Lynchburg is for Lovers

Academy Center of the Arts


Marketing Materials and Non-Print Advertising

Garth Newel


Martinsville Speedway - Fall 2017 VTC Marketing Leverage Program

Martinsville Speedway


New Regional Website, Eastern Shore

Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission


NRV Trail Guide

New River Valley Regional Commission


People of Page

Page County Economic Development/Tourism


Philpott 3

Martinsville/Henry County Tourism


Plan a Weekend Getaway in Olde Towne Portsmouth

Olde Towne Business Association


Portsmouth Cultural Arts District Marketing Campaign

Portsmouth Department of Marketing, Communications & Tourism


PPTF 2018 Marketing Grant Request

Petersburg Preservation Task Force


Pulaski Paths Forward

Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce


Rails, Trails and Ales in Virginia's Blue Ridge

Virginia's Blue Ridge


Revitalized Downtown Wytheville Campaign 2018/Expanded Wytheville Website Phase Two

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau


Richmond Black Restaurant Experience - Marketing Campaign 2018

Virginia Black Restaurant Experience


Richmond Festival of the River

Richmond Symphony


Rives Theatre in Martinsville VA

Rooster Walk, Inc.


Roanoke Street Pub

Deschutes Brewery


This is Our Rush Hour DC Metro Takeover

Shenandoah County


Tom Tom Founders Festival

Tom Tom Founders Festival


Trails & Tracks: Get Outdoors in Luray & Page County

Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce


Tween Rivers Trail Brand Awareness Campaign

Rappahanock-Rapidan Regional Commission


Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow & Related Marketing Activities

Virginia Distillers Association


Virginia Highlands Festival "Create"

Virginia Highlands Festival


Virginia's Crossroads - Find Your Path!

Mecklenburg County VA Tourism Office


Website Creation Part II: Content is King

Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau


Your Ticket To The Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Travel Association



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