Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that William King Museum of Art and Believe in Bristol received grants from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund. In total VTC awarded $927,000 for 43 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 impact at least 159 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 match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.3 million, providing more than $3.2 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.
William King Museum of Art received a $10,000 grant for its Abingdon Arts in Profile project. WKMA partnered with the Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Arts Depot, to supply $10,000 in matching funds for the project, which will result in a series of 14 30-second marketing videos that will be employed by WKMA, ACVB and TAD-both online and on television-to raise awareness of the visual arts on offer in Abingdon. Twelve of the videos profile each of the in-house studio artists who work on site at WKMA and TAD; one video highlights Abingdon First Thursday, the monthly community art crawl; and another serves as a general promotional video for the WKMA.
Believe in Bristol received a $2,500 grant for its PUSH! Film Festival. Believe in Bristol partnered with Birthplace of Country Music and Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau to supply $2,500 in matching funds for the project. PUSH! is a celebration of the cinematic and visual arts in the heart of the twin cities of Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia. The festival brings diverse films to the community and showcases the best regional and national filmmakers in order to expand the artistic image of this region, engage new audiences and inspire creativity.
"The Marketing Leverage Grant program is designed to spur job creation, economic development and visitor spending through new or enhanced tourism product," said Governor McAuliffe. "These grants are proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and effective marketing programs."
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 percent.
Tourism is a revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported nearly 222,600 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 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.