Media Release
Contact: Michael Wampler, Director of Tourism & Marketing
Phone: 276.328.2321 or 276.220.5148 Email: [email protected]
Date: August 20, 2013


Subject: Wise County Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Tourism Marketing

Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Wise County Tourism received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Grant Fund program. Governor McDonnell had earlier increased funding for the program as part of his administration’s efforts to increase economic development through tourism. In total VTC awarded more than $980,000 for 54 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.

Wise County Tourism received a $10,000 grant for its Wise County: Niche Marketing Play n’ Stay campaign. The Wise County Tourism Department partnered with the City of Norton and the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority’s Spearhead Trails to supply $20,900 in matching funds for the project.

The Wise County: Niche Marketing Play n’ Stay campaign will produce a comprehensive user-friendly website that will feature a wide-ranging inventory of tourism assets and regional attractions. Furthermore, it will generate a marketing campaign targeting East Tennessee, Western North Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky to promote the Mountain View ATV Trail System (Spearhead Trails), The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama and will encourage use of the High Knob Recreation Area and the all new High Knob Tower, as well as, The Crooked Road venues within the region.

The Towns of Big Stone Gap, Appalachia, Wise, Pound, Coeburn, and St. Paul, as well as the City of Norton will all benefit from the tourism website and comprehensive marketing efforts. “Our assets are diverse and this marketing campaign will utilize niche market targeting to reach those consumers who seek specialized outdoor recreational opportunities, as well as, cultural and heritage offerings,” stated Michael Wampler, Wise County’s Tourism Director. “We believe that when we are successful in getting visitors to travel to this region for recreational purposes, they will be enticed by other cultural and heritage offerings to extend their stay. This will produce additional revenue for all tourism related businesses and venues within Wise County and the City of Norton.”

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.

“Grants such as these enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors,” said Governor McDonnell. “When more visitors come to Virginia, the localities and the Commonwealth realize increased tax revenue, businesses prosper, and new jobs are created.”

“Local tourism efforts get a gigantic boost when parties work together in partnership,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “By leveraging our tourism marketing funds so much good can be accomplished that results in dynamic tourism projects that might otherwise be unaffordable.”

Tourism in Virginia generates $20 billion in revenue, supports more than 207,000 jobs and provides $1.3 billion in state and local taxes.

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