Norton 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. $866,504 in marketing grant funds were awarded to 90 Destination Marketing Organizations as part of the DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant program.
Norton will use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to produce advertisements and marketing materials to promote outdoor recreation and cultural attractions in Norton and the surrounding High Knob region. As part of this campaign, the city will be creating a series of road trip itineraries to encourage visitors and residents to explore the region. The city will also be working with regional media outlets to produce promotional advertisements and digital content to promote these Get Outside in Norton WanderLove Road Trips. Receipt of the WanderLove Recovery grant will bolster the city’s efforts to promote outdoor adventures in Norton and the High Knob region.
“We are grateful to be one of the 90 DMOs to receive a WanderLove Recovery grant and are excited about this campaign and the opportunity to create unique outdoor adventures for visitors and residents to explore when they feel comfortable traveling again,” said Katie Dunn, Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Norton. “We think this campaign will serve as a great way to introduce first-time visitors to Norton and the High Knob region, as well as serve as an opportunity to help our residents reconnect with where they live.”
As Virginia begins reopening, 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. With this in mind, the WanderLove campaign provides travel inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns, and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program.
“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 Norton spending almost $20.5 million in 2018, supporting 164 work opportunities and contributing $860,000 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.
About the City of Norton: Located in far Southwest Virginia, the City of Norton is Virginia’s smallest incorporated city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Centrally located at the intersection of two main highways – U.S. 23 and U.S. Route 58 Alternate – and near the crossroads of three states, the city offers an abundance of natural, cultural, and historic landmarks. We offer an experience in Norton second to none, where visitors can search for the elusive Woodbooger, enjoy the hospitality of our downtown shop owners, buy locally sourced produce at the Norton Friends & Farmers Market, see an old-time jam at the nearby Country Cabin II, or gear up at our outfitter before hitting the trail. Our leaders, citizens, and community is committed to our future, and we invite you to come discover Norton, a place where you can get outside an choose your next adventure. We invite you to Get Outside in Norton.
About Virginia Tourism Corporation: Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel and film destination. In 2018, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 234,000 work opportunities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. In 2019, Virginia is for Lovers celebrates its 50th anniversary. To learn more, visit virginia.org