Governor Youngkin announces 131 Local Tourism Programs to receive Public-Private Marketing Funds to bolster tourism microbusinesses

November 13, 2023
Virginia Capitol Building

Program will generate more than $1.9 million in marketing initiatives, support more than 1,300 jobs, and impact more than 650 statewide tourism businesses and entities

RICHMOND, VA — Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Friday that more than $757,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 131 small businesses, Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), downtown business associations, and chambers of commerce as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Microbusiness Marketing Leverage Program (MMLP).

The program is designed to leverage local marketing dollars with matching state funds to increase visitation and traveler spending in the off-season. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $1.1 million in private-public sector funds to match the VTC funding, providing more than $1.9 million in new marketing activity focused on small businesses and off-season visitation. Funding will be awarded to 131 marketing programs, ultimately impacting 655 combined partners, and supporting more than 1,300 jobs.

“Driving tourism during the off-season is part of our strategy to grow Virginia’s economy,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “These programs will help bring in year-round overnight visitation which will support small businesses and jobs in localities across Virginia. In 2022, the tourism industry supported more than 210,000 jobs in Virginia and travelers spent over $83 million per day in Virginia, and we will continue to grow thanks to these programs.”

“Virginia Tourism’s Microbusiness Marketing Leverage Program provides the tourism industry with the tools they need to succeed and thrive in an incredibly competitive landscape,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation.“Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry in Virginia, and it is imperative that we are able to market the abundance of travel experiences across the Commonwealth year-round and invite travelers to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”

Eastern Shore Custom Carts

The VTC Microbusiness Marketing Leverage Program is 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 off-season visitation. Using the hub and spoke tourism model, five Virginia entities partner financially 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.

Local businesses, towns and associations getting grant money include:

K Coast Surf Shop in Cape Charles.  $3,500

Cape Charles Mini Golf $664

Onancock Main street  $10,000

Drizzles LLC in cape Charles  $5,000

Asbury Collective Cape Charles. $5,000

Eastern Shore Tourism Commission.  $10,000

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Town of Exmore  $2,300

Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce $4,000

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