SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Virginia – Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC) has received $9,995 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program, a new grant made available to Virginia’s Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) across the Commonwealth that 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.
SMLRCC will use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to produce a new video that showcases Smith Mountain Lake and the array of outdoor recreation offerings, local wineries, historical sites, and other hidden gems. In addition, SMLRCC will launch a multi-media campaign to position Smith Mountain Lake as a road trip destination.
“We are incredibly grateful for the VTC marketing grant. These funds will assist us promoting our abundance of on and off-water outdoor adventures and cultural experiences that are ideal for an easy day or weekend adventure,” stated Christopher Finley, executive director.
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 Smith Mountain Lake and surrounding localities spending more than $117 million in 2018, supporting 1,290 work opportunities and contributing $8.5 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.
Representatives from the SMLRCC receive Virginia Tourism Corporation DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant for tourism marketing. (From left): David Rotenizer, Director of Tourism, Franklin County Tourism; Nicole Johnson, Director of Tourism, Destination Bedford VA; Christopher Finley, Executive Director, SMLRCC; Katie Conner, Destination Marketing Specialist, Virginia Tourism Corporation; and Waller Perrow, SMLRCC Board Chairman and Mariners Landing. Photo courtesy Michelle Crumpacker.
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 nearly 700 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 community. 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 2018, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 234,000 work opportunities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. In 2019, Virginia is for Lovers celebrated its 50th anniversary. To learn more, visit virginia.org.