Virginia Tourism Corporation Awards Local Tourism Initiatives with Grants

by Arielle Patterson

The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) recently awarded 161 local tourism initiatives, including several in the Coastal Virginia region, with grants as part of the Recovery Marketing Leverage Program (RMLP). Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Nov. 16 that over $1.9 million in matching grants will be given to these recipients in an effort to support tourism initiatives in responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

RMLP is open to all Virginia tourism industry partners and will help local and regional tourism programs leverage limited local marketing dollars through a local in-kind match of the state grants funds. According to the VTC, this funding cycle, local partners will provide more than $5.6 million in-kind value to match the VTC grants.

“In Virginia, the travel and tourism industries are the backbone of our communities and our economy, and they have been among those hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Governor Northam. “This program will give localities and businesses access to much-needed marketing resources to sustain their operations and ensure the Commonwealth’s many attractions are safe for visitors. These are critical investments that will help to grow demand for Virginia products, drive local spending, and restore additional economic activity as we continue on our road to recovery.”

VTC offered these grant funds as a first step to re-entry into the marketplace to spur economic activity and future travel across the Commonwealth. The RMLP is designed to increase visitor spending by stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships and extending the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand.

“We are thrilled to receive the VTC Marketing Leverage Grant at this time when schools and our economy have been so affected by the consequences of the pandemic," said Smithfield & Isle of Wight tourism director, Judy Winslow, in a statement.

Smithfield Tourism will use the VTC RMLP grant funds to promote four themed family field trip itineraries. With so many families attending school virtually, a field trip would be a great way to take a break, explore a new place and learn something along the way.

“It’s been a difficult year for those in the hospitality industry, and we’re thrilled to use this grant to showcase the hard work and love that our locally owned restaurants and breweries pour into our city on a daily basis,” said Kurt Krause, president and CEO of VisitNorfolk, in a press release.

Here are the RMLP recipients in Coastal Virginia:

Locality Lead Partner Name of Marketing Program Award Amount
Newport News Virginia Living Museum Dinosaurs and the Great Outdoors $10,000.00
Norfolk Virginia Arts Festival Virginia International Tattoo $20,000.00
Norfolk Virginia Zoo Explore in Your Back Yard $10,000.00
Norfolk Visit Norfolk The City with Bite $10,000.00
Norfolk Norfolk Festevents, Ltd. Norfolk Festevents 2021 Season of Events $10,000.00
Portsmouth City of Portsmouth Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism 48-Hour Small Town Getaways $10,000.00
Smithfield Smithfield & Isle of Wight Convention and Visitors Bureau Family Field Trips to Smithfield and Isle of Wight County $5,000.00
Virginia Beach Virginia Beach Art Center, Inc. Getaway to the heART of Virginia Beach $20,000.00
Virginia Beach ViBe Creative District WanderLove: ViBe Creative District $20,000.00
Virginia Beach Military Aviation Museum Warbird Weekends $10,000.00
Virginia Beach Zeiders American Dream Theater Zeiders American Dream Theater $10,000.00
Waynesboro The Wayne Theatre Alliance REACH – Rediscovering Excitement for Arts, Culture, and History in the Shenandoah Valley $10,000.00
Williamsburg Colonial Williamsburg Travel through History: A Virginia Road Trip $20,000.00
Yorktown County of York York County Tourism Development – Visit Yorktown $20,000.00
Yorktown York County Office of Economic Development Dining on The Edge $8,350.00


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