The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism will use a $10,000 state grant to promote road trips in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced that the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism will receive $10,000 under the Virginia Tourism Corp.’s WanderLove grant program.
Funds will go to organizations heavily impacted by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, with each awardee receiving a maximum of $10,000.
“The chamber will use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to promote road trips to the Alleghany Highlands, where visitors can safely social distance in wide-open spaces through outdoor recreational experiences,” said Teresa Hammond, executive director of the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
“Based on industry research, in-state and drive market road trips will be the first to return as restrictions are lifted in Virginia and across the country,” she said.
Hammond said advertising to promote the Highlands will be conducted through numerous print and digital publications. The advertising campaign will focus on water recreation, hiking and biking, scenic drives, local LoveWorks signs, dual sport motorcycling and overlanding experiences and unique lodging opportunities.
A WanderLove specific landing page will also be created as part of the chamber’s visitalleghanyhighlands.com website, Hammond said.
The website will include a slideshow of photos from y local photographers, and information on tourism-related sites.
“We hope that the use of these funds will attract visitors to take a road trip to the Alleghany Highlands to participate in unique and safe outdoor recreational experiences while helping out our local businesses and economy,” Hammond said.
Tourism is one of Virginia’s largest economic engines, with visitors to the Alleghany Highlands spending more than $45 million in 2018. Regional tourism helped support 416 new work opportunities and contributed more than $3 million in local tax revenue.
“The tourism and hospitality industries have also been among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, experiencing decreased revenue and job losses, 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,” Hammond said.
The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has received a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corp.’s WanderLove program. The chamber will use the grant to promote road trips in the region. (Gavin Dressler Photo)