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 200 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 $2.9 million, providing nearly $3.9 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.
Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail received a $22,230 grant for its Passport to a Shenandoah Beerwerks Adventure. City of Waynesboro Economic Development and Tourism partnered with Augusta County Economic Development, City of Staunton Tourism, City of Harrisonburg Tourism, and Lexington/Rockbridge Area Tourism to supply $44,461 in matching funds for the project which will launch a passport program this fall for the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail to help extend and deepen visits to the trail and to the area.
“This MLP grant is targeted toward launching our “Passport to a Shenandoah Beerwerks Adventure” campaign.” said Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Waynesboro. “The Beerwerks Trail will be releasing a passport this fall. It will encourage people to visit more breweries and extend their stay in the area.” said Cranor who serves as Chair of the Trail, “People tend to really enjoy participating in visiting multiple breweries and getting their passport stamped. Completed stamp pages are sent in for a Beerwerks T-Shirt.”
The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending. A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply and may consist of Virginia towns, cities, 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.
“Today, we are making a strategic investment in one of Virginia’s most important and growing industries,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Tourism is the Commonwealth’s fifth largest industry, and every dollar spent on new product development means economic growth, jobs, and improved quality of life for Virginia families. The Marketing Leverage Program grants fund innovative marketing initiatives for tourism entities across the Commonwealth, helping them to promote Virginia as a premier travel destination.”
Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15%.
“The Marketing Leverage Program grants are an important way to support our nationally- and internationally-acclaimed tourism industry,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Last year, tourism generated a record $24 billion in revenue, which supported 230,000 jobs and contributed $1.7 billion in state and local taxes, and helped spark growth in all regions of the Commonwealth. Tourism is a sound investment for the Commonwealth, and these funds provide a critical stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.”