SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Virginia – Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC) has received $20,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Recovery Marketing Leverage Program (RMLP), designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds.
More than $1.9 million in matching grant funds were awarded to 161 local tourism initiatives through this program. This funding cycle, local partners will provide more than $5.6 million in-kind value to match the VTC grants. The grants will ultimately impact 483 statewide tourism entities.
SMLRCC will use the VTC Recovery Marketing Leverage grant funds to deploy a multi-media promotional campaign in three key feeder markets during the second and third quarters of 2021 as well as to launch two new tourism initiatives including the inaugural Smith Mountain Lake Restaurant Week and a Smith Mountain Lake Getaway sweepstakes contest.
“We’ll utilize these marketing funds to target travelers from neighboring North Carolina, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C., and invite visitors to Smith Mountain Lake to safely enjoy our recreation paradise, nationally recognized historic sites, unique artisan shops, abundance of farm-fresh local food, and ample entertainment options,” stated Christopher Finley, executive director.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and hospitality industries in Virginia. As the Commonwealth slowly reopens for business, VTC offered these grant funds as a first step to re-entry into the marketplace to spur economic activity and future travel across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“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. “These funds give localities and businesses access to critical marketing resources that will help bring more travelers to our Commonwealth, increase visitor spending, and grow demand for Virginia products.”
Tourism is one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic engines, with visitors to Smith Mountain Lake and surrounding localities spending more than 121.4 million in 2019, supporting 1,319 work opportunities and contributing $8.8 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.
About Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce
The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC) is dedicated to promoting tourism and growing business for its members and the community. As a member-driven organization with 650 members, the SMLRCC provides information, advocacy, and support to the lake’s growing business community. SMLRCC’s goal is to strengthen the social and economic environment of the region. Visit online at visitsmithmountainlake.com.
About Virginia Tourism Corporation
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.