Local organizations receive State Grants from Virginia Tourism Commission

May 23, 2024
Virginia is for lovers

To kick off National Travel & Tourism Week, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today that more than $3.27 million in matching grant and sponsorship funds will be awarded to 268 tourism programs as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Grants programs.

Among the recipients here on the Eastern Shore include the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, Onancock Main Street, North Street Market, Barrier Islands Center, Moonrise Jewelry and the Fig Street Inn.

These funding programs are designed to leverage local marketing dollars with matching state funds to increase visitation and traveler spending through 2025. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $9.2 million to match the VTC funding, providing more than $12.5 million in new marketing and event production activity focused on increasing overnight visitation to Virginia across all nine GO Virginia regions. The funding will be awarded to 268 marketing programs, ultimately impacting 1,230 combined partners.

“VTC’s marketing and sponsorship programs are powerful incentives creating tourism partnerships across Virginia that are a robust part of Virginia’s economic ecosystem,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Across the Commonwealth, the tourism industry recognizes the importance of having inventive strategies to showcase all that Virginia has to offer. These grants will support those efforts and help draw thousands of additional visitors to the Commonwealth to experience everything that makes Virginia so special.”

VTC’s tourism marketing and sponsorship programs are 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 visitation. Using the hub and spoke tourism partnership model, Virginia entities partner 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, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other tourism-related non-profits and private businesses.

These various grant programs assist Virginia Destination Marketing Organizations and established Virginia special events and festivals with marketing and/or event production costs.

The Marketing Leverage Program is a reimbursable grant program to leverage existing marketing funds available to Virginia travel industry partners including small businesses, DMOs, private sector attractions, accommodations, and events.

The Virginia DMO Grant Program is awarded to DMOs for marketing expenses that show positive and significant economic impact on tourism and must include marketing plans designed to drive visitation to Virginia.

Atlantic Animal Hospital

The Virginia Special Events & Festivals Program is for marketing and production of Virginia-based special events and festivals occurring in 2024. These events must have at least two years of prior attendance since 2017 with minimum attendance tiers.

“The VTC grant programs continue to inject critical funds into communities across the Commonwealth, helping to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The tourism industry in an incredible employment on-ramp for high school and college students, part-time workers, and those interested long-term hospitality careers. From kitchen line cooks to regional executive hotel managers, these funds support a robust hospitality workforce by inducing tourism demand and increasing overnight visitation.”

VTC will have a Microbusiness Marketing Leverage Program grant round opening in Summer 2024 designed to assist small tourism-oriented businesses and organizations, such as Main Street Organizations, with Fall and Winter marketing initiatives. Another round of the Virginia Special Events & Festivals Program will open mid-2024 for events that will occur in 2025. The next round for the Marketing Leverage Program and the Virginia DMO Marketing Grant Program will open February 2025. Organizations and businesses that are interested in applying for these grant opportunities may visit vatc.org/grants for more information.

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