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Wednesday September 21, 2016

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Martinsville Speedway received $50,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund. In total VTC awarded $927,000 for 43 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 159 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.3 million, providing more than $3.2 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

Martinsville Speedway received a $50,000 grant for its STP 500 race weekend. The speedway partnered with the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation to supply $24,250 in matching funds for the project. The money was used for advertising and marketing in markets the track otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach.

“We’re excited the VTC sees the value in Martinsville Speedway and what we bring to our region,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “We’re able to put this money toward advertising and expanding our footprint, which will help us attract more people to the racetrack.

“The more people we can bring in for the race, the more money is spent in our local economy. Whether it’s hotel rooms, food or gas, people are coming here and supporting Martinsville and Henry County.”

“We’re delighted to help Martinsville Speedway secure this grant to leverage their marketing budget because NASCAR racing is a huge generator of tourism revenue in Martinsville-Henry County and the surrounding region,” said Jennifer Doss, Director of the Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division. “Our strong partnership with the speedway enables us to collaborate and help new visitors to the track become lifelong fans that want to return again and again.”

“We want to support Martinsville Speedway anyway we can,” Amanda Witt, the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber President said. “They are by far the biggest economic driver and generator of tourism in our area and we want to help expand their reach into new markets.”

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending.  A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply and may consist of Virginia towns, cities, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other not-for-profit entities. 

“The Marketing Leverage Grant program is designed to spur job creation, economic development, and visitor spending through new or enhanced tourism product,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These grants are proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and effective marketing programs.”

Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15%.

“These grants support businesses across the Commonwealth, contributing to the overall economic health of our communities,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “These public-private partnerships are a wonderful example of the power of collaboration, and help support and grow a robust and diversified economy, encouraging strategic marketing of tourism products and businesses across the Commonwealth.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported nearly 222,600 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.  Visit www.Virginia.org to learn more about vacation destinations in Virginia or call 1-800-VISITVA to receive a free Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

Tags: Henry County, Martinsville, Martinsville Speedway, Motorsports