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Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism Receives Recovery Grant for Tourism Marketing

LEXINGTON, VA (July 28, 2020) - Governor Ralph Northam announced last week that Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) 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. One of the 90 grants submitted, Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism received $10,000 for its “Small Towns, Big Backyard” road trips campaign.

“Primary visitors to Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County are within a days’ drive,” said Patty Williams, Marketing Director for Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism. “They most commonly arrive from northern Virginia, Washington, DC, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, and we know from research conducted by Virginia Tourism Corporation that their main reasons to visit the Shenandoah Valley are to connect with family and friends and to explore the outdoors. Their most frequent activities include shopping, rural sightseeing, and visiting historic sites, churches, and museums. Conveniently, those are our top lures. We are eager to introduce potential travelers to our ‘Small Towns, Big Backyard’ road trip ideas, which will fuel their explorations in and around Lexington and the Rockbridge area.”

As Virginia begins phase three of the Forward Virginia plan, 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 Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County spending nearly $137 million in 2018, supporting 983 work opportunities and contributing more than $8.6 million 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 Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism is responsible for marketing Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County to would-be visitors who enjoy the outdoors, history, farm-fresh food and beverages, local shopping, and the charm of small town life. To learn more, visit

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 celebrated its 50th anniversary. To learn more, visit

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