Halifax County tourism programs get boost from state

Halifax County tourism program will receive more than $86,000 in grants in an effort to spur increased visitation.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced more than $3.2 million in matching grant and sponsorship funds on Monday to kick off National Travel & Tourism Week.

The money is part of the part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Regional Marketing, Marketing Leverage, and VA250 Marketing Leverage programs.

A total of 236 tourism programs in the state received grants.

Locally, the Community Arts Center Foundation — doing business as The Prizery — will get $15,000 for its Dance and Dine Series.

Halifax County Escape 58 will receive a boost of $20,000 from state and the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival will get $10,656.

For racing — a major driver of tourism in Halifax County — South Boston Speedway will get $19,000 for a “Fun. Fast. Authentic.” program and Virginia International Raceway will receive $20,000 for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix IMSA event.

These funding programs are designed to leverage local marketing dollars with matching state funds to increase visitation and traveler spending through 2024, according to the governor’s office. This funding cycle, local partners will commit more than $15.5 million to match the VTC funding, providing more than $18.5 million in new marketing and event production activity focused on increasing overnight visitation to Virginia. The funding will be awarded to 236 marketing programs, ultimately impacting 1,161 combined partners.

“VTC’s marketing and sponsorship programs are powerful incentives creating tourism partnerships across Virginia that are a robust part of Virginia’s economic ecosystem,” said Youngkin said in a release.

VTC’s tourism marketing and sponsorship programs are designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships, and to extend the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand to drive visitation, according to the release. Using the hub and spoke tourism partnership model, Virginia entities partner to apply for funding. Partners may consist of Virginia cities, towns, counties, convention and visitors’ bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other tourism-related businesses.

The Virginia Regional Marketing Programs assist Virginia Destination Marketing Organizations and established Virginia special events and festivals with marketing and/or production. The Marketing Leverage Program is a program to leverage existing marketing funds available to Virginia travel industry partners including small businesses, DMOs, private sector attractions, accommodations, and events. The VA250 Tourism Marketing Program is a partnership between the VA250 Commission and Virginia Tourism Corporation and is designed to support, promote, and market programming, events, and interpretive signage specifically related to the framework of America’s 250th commemoration.

“Driving inbound out-of-state overnight visitation is a key economic strategy and the VTC grant and sponsorship programs help create unique partnerships that have tangible economic impacts across Virginia in all nine GO Virginia Regions,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Many of these programs also support regional marketing initiatives designed to encourage Virginians to explore their own state.”

VTC will have a VA250 Tourism Marketing Program grant round and a Microbusiness Marketing Leverage Program grant round opening in summer and fall. Organizations and businesses that are interested in applying may visit vatc.org/grants for more information.

From The Gazette Virginian