The Northern Neck Tourism Commission (NNTC) has received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program, a new grant made available to Virginia’s Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) across the Commonwealth that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic to fund recovery marketing initiatives. $866,504 in marketing grant funds were awarded to 90 Destination Marketing Organizations as part of the DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant program.
The NNTC will use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to promote the Northern Neck’s road trip itineraries, including historic sites, small museums, wineries, restaurants, and lodging.
Promotion will be through the tourism brochure, which is distributed to Virginia Welcome Centers across the Commonwealth, website, northernneck.org, and social media channels. Funding will also pay for advertising in the Northern Neck’s target markets during the Fall and Spring, to increase travel in the off-peak seasons.
NNTC Chair Karen Hart said, “NNTC appreciates the partnership with VTC in highlighting scenic drives, and off-the-beaten path destinations. NNTC’s tagline - ‘Experience the Road Less Traveled’ – embraces the distance among the towns, villages, waterfront lodgings, and attractions that draw travelers to the area.”
As Virginia begins reopening, there is a lot of pent-up demand for leisure travel and people are seeking safe, close-to-home destinations that allow for social distancing and access to open spaces. With this in mind, the WanderLove campaign provides travel inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns, and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program.
“Virginia tourism is a critical sector of our economy and has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Getting travelers back on the road and spending money in our cities and towns is one of the fastest ways to inject dollars back into our economy and our communities. The Virginia Tourism Corporation’s DMO WanderLove Recovery Grants gives localities the ability to market their destination as safe and welcoming when visitors are ready to resume travel.”
Tourism is one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic engines, with visitors to the Northern Neck spending more than $282,449,356 in 2018, supporting 2,773 work opportunities and contributing $19,866,225 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.
The NNTC includes the Counties of King George, Westmoreland, Lancaster, Richmond and Northumberland and contributing tourism-related businesses, museums and organizations. The mission of the NNTC is to promote the cultural, natural, historic and recreational assets of the Northern Neck and to support local efforts to conserve land, water, scenic views, and cultural landscapes that contribute to the Northern Neck’s distinction as a heritage destination.