Roanoke, VA (August 4, 2020) – Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge was recently awarded $10,000.00 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) WANDERLOVE Recovery Grant Program. This is a new grant made available to Virginia’s DMOs across the Commonwealth who 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. 

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge will use the VTC WANDERLOVE recovery grant funds to enhance branding efforts, marketing Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) as the region’s hub to experience a Metro-Mountain Adventure. The existing “Be a TRAILSETTER” campaign positions Virginia’s Blue Ridge as a collective of outdoor experiences, craft beverages, arts, culture and cuisine. This fits nicely with the planned hub and spoke itineraries to inspire fun activities that are safe, uncrowded and affordable. New creative and ad placements will showcase the WANDERLOVE campaign along with the metro mountain culture built on the region’s love for its outdoors product and metro amenities. 

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 Virginia’s Blue Ridge spending more than $892 million in 2018, supporting 8,073 jobs and contributing $64 million 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.