Patrick County received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) WanderLove Recovery Grant Program.
The grant was made available to Virginia’s Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) across the Commonwealth that have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant funds will be tapped to pay for recovery marketing initiatives.
A total of $866,504 in marketing grant funds were awarded to 90 localities and tourism related organizations in Virginia.
The WanderLove Grant campaign will provide travel inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns, and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program.
Patrick County’s Tourism Department will use the WanderLove funds to showcase five “wide open space itineraries,” which will include agritourism, overlooks, Patrick and Floyd County Rock Church and LOVEWorks Trails, two videos with NC/ WFMYNEW2 Road Trippin segment and Lynchburg based WSET TV, three digital billboards located in Burlington, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, N.C., as well print ads and target marketing in the Tidewater area.
Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Patrick County. The local tourism and hospitality industries have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, experiencing decreased revenue, and job loss, along with the temporary closure.
Since April, business has picked up as restaurants, shops and lodging entities are busy with travelers seeking safe, close-to-home destinations that allow for social distancing and access to open spaces.
Also, due to the postponement of numerous festivals and events in the county, among them the J.E.B. Stuart Reenactment; Beach, Bluegrass, Floyd, Front Porch, and Peach festivals and the Patrick County Agricultural Fair; local tax revenues will be lower this year.
Hopefully, a revived tourism economy can help spur new economic activity and inject critical funds back into the community.
The Patrick County’s Tourism Department’s primary goals are to attract travelers, increasing local sales, meals, lodging taxes and employment. Increased revenues help with the quality of life for local citizens.
There have been inquiries of why monies spent toward marketing could not be used to build bridges, pave roads, and obtain better Internet. However, according to Virginia law, monies from the lodging tax must be used to market the county. Taxpayer dollars have not been used, nor will they be used, for tourism marketing initiatives in Patrick County.
Tourism is one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic engines, with visitors to Patrick County spending more than $29,000,000 in 2018, supporting 282 tourism related employees and contributing $835,106.00 in local tax revenue.
Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel and film destination. In 2018, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 234,000 work opportunities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. In 2019, Virginia is for Lovers celebrates its 50th anniversary. To learn more, visit virginia.org