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February 23, 2017

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that the Virginia Museum of Natural History, in partnership with Piedmont Arts and the Martinsville-Henry County Tourism Division, received $3,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund for “The Year of Discovery” marketing partnership.  With $3,000 in matching partner funds, the $6,000 initiative will provide marketing resources for a variety of special events, exhibits and programs throughout 2017.

“We are proud to partner with Piedmont Arts, the Martinsville-Henry County Tourism Division and other organizations across the region on this and other marketing partnerships,” said Ryan Barber, deputy director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  “Southern Virginia is home to a wealth of cultural and natural resources that are most effectively promoted through collaborative efforts like the VTC Marketing Leverage Program.”

In total, VTC awarded more than $772,000 for 62 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.  The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars and will ultimately impact at least 260 statewide tourism entities.

“Whenever we can work collaboratively to market the exciting events we have to offer our community, the better off we are,” said Piedmont Arts Executive Director Kathy Rogers. “Martinsville-Henry County is rich in arts and culture and the VTC Marketing Leverage Program gives us tools we need to market our respective programs.”

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending.  A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply and may consist of Virginia towns, cities, 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.

“With a year full of exciting events and exhibits at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and Piedmont Arts, 2017 is going to be an especially exciting year to visit Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia,” said Beth Stinnett, interim director of tourism for the Martinsville-Henry County Tourism Division.  “This grant will aid in marketing efforts intended to reach more people and bring more visitors to the museums and other amenities that MHC has to offer.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported nearly 223,100 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 7:1 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.

“Today, we take another critical step in supporting one of Virginia’s largest private sector industries and the individual communities across the Commonwealth that foster it,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These Marketing Leverage Program grants provide a vital opportunity for destinations and businesses across the Commonwealth, helping to create jobs, promote economic development, and increase visitor spending. I congratulate the more than 260 tourism partners across the Commonwealth that received funding for 62 projects – not only the highest number of partners awarded in the program’s history, but the highest dollar match by partners in a single funding cycle.”

Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15 percent.

“This grant will help promote our area’s museums, and the rich cultural and educational experiences Martinsville and Henry County offer,” said Dr. Joe B. Keiper, executive director of VMNH.

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