The Alleghany Highlands Chamber has received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Recovery Marketing Leverage Program, 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.

The chamber will use the VTC Recovery Marketing Leverage grant funds to market the Alleghany Highlands as a premier outdoor recreation and arts community in the heart of Virginia’s Mountain Region. 

The campaign will further the Uniquely Alleghany tagline and its relevance to the attractions of the Alleghany Highlands. The marketing plan will consist of both digital and print advertising in major publications as well as social media campaigns aimed at reaching visitors with specific interest. 

“Over the past year we have been able to use targeted advertising to attract record numbers of visitors to our outdoor attractions,” said Josh Taylor, Special Projects and Marketing coordinator for the chamber.   “We have seen huge growth of our social media channels and over a 200 percent increase in users to our tourism website.

“We hope to continue this growth and show even more potential visitors what makes the Alleghany Highlands Uniquely Alleghany,” Taylor added.  

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 Gov. 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 the Alleghany Highlands spending more than $45,446,539 in 2019, supporting 414 work opportunities and contributing $3,043,627 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.

“This year we have adjusted our marketing strategy with more of a digital emphasis than in past years in an effort to reach as many people as possible during these difficult times,” said said Chamber Executive Director Teresa Hammond. “This has yielded wonderful results as our outdoor assets have seen large numbers of visitors and our website and social media platforms are seeing record increases in followers and new users.

“We are excited to build on this momentum and continue promoting safe and exciting experiences to the Alleghany Highlands in 2021,” she added.

The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism strives to create an extraordinary quality of life for residents of the Alleghany Highlands and an exceptional range of activities for visitors. The chamber does this by fostering a healthy business environment and promoting economic growth.

The chamber is the unifying voice for businesses in Clifton Forge, Covington, Selma, Iron Gate, Low Moor and other parts of Alleghany County, as well as neighboring communities that do business in the Alleghany Highlands.

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