Grant awards designed to help grow tourism sector

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A grant program will match more than $965,500 to help foster growth and new interest in Virginia’s tourism departments, with initiatives in Patrick County among those to benefit.
Dominion LLC received $5,000 for its Dominion Valley Park Gospel Music program, according to a release from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office. Northam recently announced the grants.
Patrick County also may benefit from funds awarded to The Crooked Road, which received $50,000 for its “Music and so much more” program, and Virginia’s Famers Markets, which received 50,000 for its “Virginia is for farmers market lovers” program, the release stated.
The funds could help the county attract more tourism and better traffic to localities across the county, according to the release.
A trio of programs in Martinsville and Henry County are among those to receive funds, including Martinsville Speedway, which received $25,000; the Martinsville-Henry County Tourism, which received $37,000 for its “Destination/Relocation” program; and Rooster Walk Inc., which received $25,520 for its 12th annual Rooster Walk Festival.
In total, 44 agencies are to receive funds as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP), which Northam said will generate more than 3.8 million for marking initiatives and influence 182 tourism departments statewide.
The funds will help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds.
“As we celebrate five decades of the iconic ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ slogan this year, I am thrilled to see such tremendous partnership, innovation, and growth within one of our most important industries,” Northam said. “Tourism entities throughout Virginia understand the value of strategic and innovative marketing initiatives in promoting what makes this Commonwealth a great place to live, work and visit. These grant funds are designed to support exciting new development projects and programs that will help attract more travelers and increase visitor spending, while also improving our communities, generating revenue for our regional economies, and creating job opportunities for Virginians.”
Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said “the tourism industry has an incredible impact on Virginia’s economy, and the development of new tourism product is essential to our success. Last year, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 234,000 work opportunities in our communities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. By leveraging the power of public-private partnerships, the Marketing Leverage Program grants will help inject even more critical dollars back into Virginia’s economy.”
New VTC Leverage Program grants will open on September 10. Departments and entities interested in applying may do so until the December 17 deadline. More information is available at www.vatc.org.