LURAY, Va. – The Shenandoah Valley Travel Association (SVTA) has received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Recovery Marketing Leverage Program to support tourism initiatives.
“The Shenandoah Valley economy thrives on tourism, and the lost income due to COVID-19 to our hotels, resorts, attractions, restaurants, breweries, vineyards, and theaters has been brutal,” says John Robbins, SVTA Board Member.
While the road ahead might be rough, the path is clear.
SVTA will use the VTC Recovery Marketing Leverage grant funds to invest in an integrated, long-term digital outreach program called “Make Time For LOVE in the Shenandoah Valley,” a nod to the state’s iconic Virginia Is For Lovers campaign and the joy of spending quality time with those you love.
“This kind of digital travel investment is incredibly important right now. With digital, we can immediately dial up and dial down the pace of our tourism spending based on what is happening in real-time with the pandemic,” said Kathy Moore, a marketing strategist who works with SVTA.
Many Americans (69%) have developed a renewed appreciation for the outdoors since the start of the pandemic. Harris Poll CV-19 Tracker, November 11, 2020
As the home to two of our nation’s most loved national parks [Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park], as well as national forests, rolling farms and fields, the Shenandoah Valley is emerging as one of the mid-Atlantic’s pandemic-travel destinations. “We are tremendously fortunate to have these outdoor anchors, as they generated significant visitation among summer and fall travel travelers, including first-time travelers to the region,” said Moore.
The state’s tourism revenue for 2020 is expected to decrease by $10 billion, a 37% drop compared to last year, according to the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The tourism and hospitality industries have been among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, experiencing decreased revenue and job loss. “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.
A revived tourism economy can help spur new economic activity and inject critical funds back into Virginia communities.
In total, VTC awarded more than $1.9 million in matching grant funds to 161 local tourism initiatives through the recovery program. In addition to the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association’s regional tourism grant award, several localities within the Valley’s footprint also received recovery funding, such as:
- Augusta County
- Lexington Rockbridge
- Luray-Page County
- Shenandoah County
“While feelings about travel in the short-term may be depressed, there continue to be positive indicators for travel’s future. Nearly 80% of American travelers have at least tentative trip plans for some time in 2021.” – Destination Analysts
About Shenandoah Valley Travel Association (SVTA)
Founded in 1924, SVTA is one of the oldest regional tourism promotional organizations of its kind in the United States. The association promotes the tourism assets of the beautiful and historic Shenandoah Valley to the rest of the world. For nearly a century, SVTA has been promoting the diversity, accessibility, and splendor of the Shenandoah Valley to domestic and international visitors. The Valley’s year-round destination offers some of the East Coast’s most spectacular natural landscapes, outstanding outdoor recreation, historic site and attractions. Plus there are charming small cities surrounded by working farms, orchards, vineyards, and craft breweries. More information available at VisitShenandoah.org and VisitSkylineDrive.org
About Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC)
Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel and film destination. In 2019, visitors to Virginia spent $27 billion, which supported 237,000 work opportunities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. To learn more, visit virginia.org
SVTA Media Relations: Kathy Moore, 540-255-2662