Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the Newport News Economic Development Authority received $5,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund. In total VTC awarded more than $772,000 for 62 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.
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 260 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 $3.64 million, providing more than $4.4 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.
Newport News Economic Development Authority received a $5,000 grant for its Newport News Craft Beer Tourism Project. The Newport News Economic Development Authority partnered with the Newport News Tourism Development Office and the Newport News Hospitality Association to supply $5,000 in matching funds for the project which promotes craft beer and culinary tourism to Newport News. The project consists of a Newport News-dedicated episode of Untapped VA, a national television show that showcases the craft beer movement in Virginia, as well as a digital advertising campaign aimed to increase craft beer tourism to Newport News from neighboring states.
“Newport News has been delighted to work with the fine team at Tradition Brewery,” said Florence G. Kingston, Newport News Director of Development. “Since Tradition opened its doors for business, we’ve watched the excitement – and the crowds - grow week by week. They are such great partners with the City, and even recently released a special craft beer in honor of the upcoming One City Marathon. The grant funds will help us expand our culinary tourism marketing efforts and establish that Newport News is Where Great Things in Craft Beer are Happening.”
Liz Parker, President of the Newport News Hospitality Association added, “There’s no question that local craft beer breweries add to the fabric of unique experiences we’re able to offer our visitors. The Commonwealth grant allows us to leverage marketing efforts and get the story out to a national audience.”
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 take another critical step in supporting one of Virginia’s largest private sector industries and the individual communities across the Commonwealth that foster it,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These Marketing Leverage Program grants provide a vital opportunity for destinations and businesses across the Commonwealth, helping to create jobs, promote economic development, and increase visitor spending. I congratulate the more than 260 tourism partners across the Commonwealth that received funding for 62 projects – not only the highest number of partners awarded in the program’s history, but the highest dollar match by partners in a single funding cycle.”
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 provide vital funding to our tourism businesses across the Commonwealth, helping to make Virginia an incredible place to visit, but also to live,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Through the MLP grant program, Virginia Tourism has helped demonstrate the power of partnerships, as well as the economic power of tourism. I thank all of our tourism partners and members of the General Assembly for their support of this program.”
Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported nearly 223,100 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 7:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.