Halifax County Tourism has received $10,000 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.

A total of $866,504 in marketing grant funds were awarded to 90 Destination Marketing Organizations as part of the DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant program. 

Halifax County Tourism plans to use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to promote Halifax County as an inviting road-trip destination with print, social and digital media campaigns, according to LaTonya Hamilton, director of tourism.

She explained the campaigns would leverage Halifax County’s myriad road trip adventures to attract visitors here for three seasons. These road trip itineraries provide travel inspiration for outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program.

“We know that the hospitality industry is a driving economic force in our community. During the current health crisis, our tourism revenue has sharply declined,” said Hamilton. “This grant will help position Halifax County as we carefully and safely welcome visitors. 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.” 

“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 Halifax County spending more than $52 million in 2018, supporting 578 work opportunities and contributing $2.9 million in local and state tax revenue.

The tourism and hospitality industries also have been among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, experiencing decreased revenue and job loss and the temporary closure of many tourism-related businesses, said Hamilton.

A revived tourism economy can help spur new economic activity and inject critical funds back into Virginia communities, she concluded.