Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Grayson County received $20,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program (MLP). In total, VTC awarded more than $3.2 million for 236 local and regional tourism marketing programs across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.
Grayson County received a $20,000 grant to use for marketing the Grayson Gravel Traverse. Grayson County partnered with Whitewater Grayson and Grayson Highlands General Store and Inn to supply $28,500.00 in matching funds. In the Fall of 2022, Grayson County debuted the Grayson Gravel Traverse, a 72-mile Gravel Cycling Route connecting the Virginia Creeper Trail in Western Grayson County to the New River Trail in Fries, VA. In October of 2023, Grayson County will hire the route’s designer, David Landis of Village2Village Trails (Harrisonburg, VA) to conduct a FAM tour taking between 6 and 12 adventure cyclist riders and/or social media influencers to ride the route from start to finish. Participants will write articles in cycling magazines and post on social media throughout the journey. They will spend two nights in Grayson County at local vacation rentals, eat meals at local restaurants, attend the Molasses Festival in Whitetop, and enjoy music in Fries. Special thanks to our partners Whitewater Grayson for participating as influencers and to Grayson Highlands General Store and Inn for supplying one night’s lodging and two meals for the group.
“We are excited to see the economic impact that the Grayson Gravel Traverse will bring to small businesses in Grayson County once word spreads among the cycling community of its existence. Grayson County has miles of well-maintained gravel roads perfectly suitable for this type of rider, and our beauty can compete with that of any locality in the nation. We’re excited to share what Grayson has to offer,” said Tracy Cornett, Tourism Economic Development Director.
Using the hub and spoke tourism partnership model, Virginia entities partner to apply for funding. 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 tourism-related businesses. “VTC’s tourism marketing and sponsorship programs are designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships, and to extend the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand to drive visitation,” said Rita McClenny, VTC President and CEO. More information on VTC’s Marketing Leverage and Regional Marketing Programs can be found at vatc.org/grants.
“VTC’s marketing and sponsorship programs are powerful incentives creating tourism partnerships across Virginia that are a robust part of Virginia’s economic ecosystem,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “From first-time applicants like Foxfield Races and Paradise Springs Winery to large music festivals in Hampton Roads and Southwest Virginia driving inbound overnight visitation, these programs show that tourism and tourism partnerships help Virginia’s vibrant communities grow and thrive.”
“Driving inbound out-of-state overnight visitation is a key economic strategy and the VTC grant and sponsorship programs help create unique partnerships that have tangible economic impacts across Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Many of these programs also support regional marketing initiatives designed to encourage Virginians to explore their own state.”