RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – On Monday, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that 27 Virginia communities – including seven in Southwest Virginia – will launch new tourism programs aimed at strengthening local economies.
According to the governor’s office, these programs and plans were developed through the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) DRIVE 2.0 State Tourism Plan Implementation Workshops, where community stakeholders focus on developing or improving tourism promotion, product development and advocacy strategies, including specific action steps, success factors, timelines and priorities for implementation.
Upon completion, communities will also receive a $10,000 grant to help them further develop these plans, officials said.
Youngkin’s office told WFXR News that the implementation process has provided an important opportunity for diverse community stakeholders to come together with the common goal of growing tourism in their region, with more than 1,200 community and business leaders in attendance. across the Commonwealth participating in the DRIVE 2.0 programme. and workshops.
“The completion of the DRIVE 2.0 workshops and the creation of over 100 new tourism programs signals a new era in the development and marketing of tourism in the Commonwealth,” said Youngkin. “Investing in the development of new tourism products, infrastructure and programs is a proven strategy to improve our economy by increasing jobs and tax revenue. This will lead to meaningful change for our communities across the Commonwealth and further underscore Virginia’s reputation as the best place to live, work and travel.
“Tourism is big business in Virginia, but we must continue to innovate and improve to stay competitive against our competitors,” said Caren Merrick, Secretary of Commerce and Commerce. “The DRIVE 2.0 workshops have equipped Virginia communities with the tools to create the best strategies for promoting new and original tourism products and programs. These initiatives will attract more travelers and visitor spending to the Commonwealth, and help Virginians and visitors discover for themselves why Virginia is for lovers.
Officials say the DRIVE 2.0 program was launched at an important time for the tourism industry as communities searched for strategies to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The DRIVE 2.0 materials would have provided an important resource and tool for communities as they embarked on their recovery efforts, focusing on promoting outdoor recreation, community development and support, as well as advocating for tourism as a driver of community and economic well-being.
The DRIVE 2.0 process, facilitated by VTC, provides communities across the state with the strategies needed to succeed in the overly competitive travel and tourism marketplace. Using VTC’s “hub and spoke” model, which clusters regional lures and attractions around the main tourism hub, participating communities developed ideas for developing improved or new tourism products totaling over 100 new ideas and initiatives to enter on the market. VTC and participating communities used current data, trends and research to inform their plans. Localities have identified accommodation and hospitality development as a game-changing product development strategy, while trail development has proven to be an accessible short-term strategy to attract new travelers and boost tourism. economic activity. Other areas of focus include developing entrepreneurship, expanding restaurants and culinary options, and expanding accommodation offerings. Promotional strategies with a strong focus on the outdoors, history and live music
Statement issued on July 18, 2022 by the Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin
Here are the 27 communities that have completed the DRIVE 2.0 program:
- Alleghany Highlands
- Arlington County
- City of Bristol
- Charlottesville-Albemarle County
- City of Petersburg
- Virginia East Coast
- Fairfax County
- Floyd County
- Giles County
- Town of Harrisonburg
- Hopewell-Prince George County
- Lexington-Rockbridge area
- Nelson County
- City of Norfolk
- North Neck
- Prince William County
- Pulaski County
- Richmond Area Tourism
- Scott County
- Smithfield County/Isle of Wight
- Smith County
- Surry County
- City of Damascus
- City of Kilmarnock
- City of Marion
- City of Saltville
- Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge
To find out more about DRIVE Tourisme, visit the VATC website.