Playing it safe
Va. awards $866K in tourism grants via program promoting safe visiting options amid pandemic
The Virginia Tourism Corp.’s DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program will award $866,000 in grants to 90 destination marketing organizations that were heavily impacted by the pandemic, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday.
Each recipient will receive a maximum grant of $10,000, which can be used for efforts including participating in VTC co-ops, local advertising and out-of-state marketing.
“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 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.”
Announced in June, the WanderLove campaign provides inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns and other tourist attractions in Virginia. The campaign was created for travelers looking for safe, close-to-home options for travel during the pandemic. Grant recipients will also receive creative assets to use for their own marketing purposes.
In 2018, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 236,000 jobs and brought in $1.8 billion in state and local taxes.
“The WanderLove Recovery Grant was designed to stimulate economic activity this summer and beyond for travelers as they cautiously resume travel,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “Virginia destinations have worked incredibly hard to ensure the health and safety of its citizens and visitors. The WanderLove campaign is a great way to showcase a fun, relaxing Virginia vacation while also staying safe.”
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