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SoBo-Halifax County Tourism gets $10,000 marketing grant

South Boston-Halifax County Department of Tourism has received a $10,000 marketing grant to promote “Halifax County: Your Meeting Destination.”

In March, the tourism department moved into its newly renovated 4,200 square foot Visitor Center, located at the intersection of Highways 58 and 360 near Riverdale.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Monday the local department of tourism is one of 37 tourism initiatives being awarded more than $543,000 in matching grant funds as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Grant program. 

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, signage, social media and advertisements.

 “Grants such as these enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors,” said McDonnell. “When more visitors come to Virginia, the commonwealth and the localities realize increased tax revenue, businesses prosper, and new jobs are created.” 

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2011 tourism generated $20.4 billion in revenue, supported 207,000 jobs and provided $1.32 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. 

VTC’s Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships and extending the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand.  

A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply for a grant.  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, Virginia Tourism Corporation awards approximately $1 million annually - matched and leveraged on average three to one by partner dollars - to more than 80 communities across the commonwealth.

 “These grants help enable local tourism partners undertake projects that might otherwise be beyond their fiscal reach, “said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “I see our Marketing Leverage Grants program as something that creates opportunity and breeds the kind of success that can only be achieved by people working together.”

The next round of Marketing Leverage Program grants will open spring 2013. Localities interested in applying may visit www.vatc.org for more information.