Tourism bestows grant

Published 6:30 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. has received $3,500 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Recovery Marketing Leverage Program, designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds.

More than $1.9 million in matching grant funds were awarded to 161 local tourism initiatives through this program. This funding cycle, local partners will provide more than $5.6 million in-kind value to match the VTC grants. The grants will ultimately impact 483 statewide tourism entities.

FSEDI will use the VTC Recovery Marketing Leverage grant funds to create a new marketing campaign called ‘What a Day!’ in Franklin and Southampton, encouraging visitors within a 50-mile radius to make a day trip to the locality.

We are so grateful to have been awarded this grant funding,” said Harrell Turner, FSEDI board chairman. “Tourism is an important economic driver for our two communities, and actively advertising to those that would like to visit our area for the day is an excellent utilization of the money received.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and hospitality industries in Virginia. As the Commonwealth slowly reopens for business, VTC offered these grant funds as a first step to re-entry into the marketplace to spur economic activity and future travel across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Tourism is a crucial section of the Virginia economy and when we invest in this industry, we support local job creation and drive regional economic growth, which is desperately needed now due to the pandemic,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “These funds give localities and businesses access to critical marketing resources that will help bring more travelers to our Commonwealth, increase visitor spending, and grow demand for Virginia products.”

Tourism is one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic engines, providing substantial work opportunities and contributing greatly in local and state tax revenue. The tourism and hospitality industries have also been among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, experiencing decreased revenue and job loss, along with the temporary closure of many tourism-related businesses. A revived tourism economy can help spur new economic activity and inject critical funds back into Virginia communities.