Tourism grants hope to boost revenue in Christiansburg and Salem

Local News

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced this week more than $866,000 will be going to 90 destination marketing organizations (DMO) to help them prepare for a rebound in tourism.

“So this $10,000 means the world to us to be able to market in a time that is needed,” said Montgomery County Regional Tourism’s Director of Tourism, Lisa Bleakley.

Both the Salem Visitors Center and the regional tourism office for Montgomery County and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg were awarded $10,000 each in order to help bring back tourists.

“It’s wonderful to get a grant,” said Salem Director of Tourism, Carey Harveycutter. “We have applied for a grant in Virginia tourism in some time and to come back and get it on the first try is wonderful.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, revenue has been extremely down.

“Our hotels are hurting,” said Harveycutter. “Our restaurants are hurting, and businesses are down, and it’s down substantially.”

“COVID-19 has brought us a lot of disappointment, of course, it has brought us a lot of bad things all around the nation,” said Bleakley. “But more specifically here because of that impact not only to the residential ability to move around but to the universities and the normal business we would see from that has been severely impacted this year.”

With the DMO Wonderlove Recovery Grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), these destinations can use the money for advertisements to get people to explore their hidden gems.

“All the studies show people want to get out of the house and want to take a vacation,” said Harveycutter. “They are also willing to go on a drive to the vacation and they wanted to be safe and we fill both of those.”

For more information about the different localities receiving the Wonderlove Recovery Grant, click here.

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