The Virginia Tourism Corp. plans to award more than $866,000 in tourism grants to support businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced the grants Wednesday, with money earmarked for 90 destination marketing organizations through the VTC’s new WanderLove grant program.
“Tourism is one of the largest sectors of Virginia’s economy, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the industry,” Northam said in a written statement. “Travel will look different for as long as this virus is with us and many Virginians are seeking getaways that are closer to home. The WanderLove recovery grants will help our localities prepare for a rebound in tourism, market their destinations as safe and accessible and drive new economic activity as we gradually welcome visitors back to our Commonwealth.”
Funds will go to organizations heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with each awardee receiving a maximum of $10,000. A cash match isn’t required, but destinations have pledged a collective in-kind match of more than $3 million, according to the statement. Funds must be used for recovery marketing and may be used for participating in the VTC co-ops, local advertising, out-of-state marketing and other allowable items.
Southwest Virginia recipients of $10,000 grants include: Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau; Big Stone Gap Visitor Center; Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau; Buchanan County Tourism; Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center; Lee County; town of Marion; Norton; Pennington Gap; Russell County; Scott County; Friends of Southwest Virginia; Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority; town of St. Paul; Tazewell County; Wise County Tourism; and Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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