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Prizery awarded $5,000 tourism marketing grant

The Prizery in South Boston has been awarded a $5,000 tourism marketing grant for its “Expect the Extraordinary” project, Governor Bob McDonnell announced Tuesday.

The Prizery is among 45 local tourism initiatives awarded matching grant funds in the amount of more than $660,000 by the Virginia Tourism Corporation as part of the corporation’s marketing leverage grant program. 

Also awarded a $2,000 grant was Red Hill - Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation for its Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival held at Patrick Henry's Red Hill.

The grants help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 3:1 to create marketing projects such as websites, social media and advertisements.

“Tourism plays such a vital role in Virginia’s economy,” said McDonnell. “These grants help bring more visitors to Virginia, and in doing so they help create and sustain jobs while generating revenue for businesses and tax income for the localities and the Commonwealth.” 

Tourism in Virginia generated $19 billion in revenue in 2010, provided $1.3 billion in state and local taxes and supported more than 200,000 jobs. 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. 

The objective of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program is to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships and extend the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand.  

To apply for a grant a minimum of three entities must partner financially.  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 not-for-profit entities.  

In total, VTC awards approximately $1 million annually - matched and leveraged on average three to one by partner dollars - to more than 80 communities across the commonwealth. 

“The power of partnerships is vital in maximizing Virginia’s effectiveness in attracting visitors, “said Rita McClenny, interim president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “When Virginians work together to create exceptional tourism projects such as these our grants become an investment certain to pay dividends for the Commonwealth.”

 The next round of Marketing Leverage Program grants are now open and will be due on Oct. 11. Localities interested in applying should visit www.vatc.org for more information.