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Posted on: July 29, 2020

Press Release - Economic Development/Tourism

SURRY WanderLOVE (newsflash)

Press Release:


Surry County, Virginia Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant for Tourism Marketing

Surry County Tourism 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.

Surry County Tourism will use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to expand marketing efforts to a larger audience, promoting the unique attributes of the Surry community that are within driving distance for areas such as Central, Coastal and Northern Virginia travelers.  Promotion will focus on specific itineraries which highlight outdoor recreation and “small town” experiences.

“During this time of economic hardship, it is a wonderful opportunity to have additional funds to invest in tourism marketing,” said Pat Bernshausen, Surry County Tourism Coordinator.  “We are excited about our community and what Surry has to offer to potential travelers.  The WanderLove Campaign will enable us to bring attention to some of our local businesses and increase local revenues in ways we had not anticipated,” she further stated.

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 Surry County spending more than $10,655,769 in 2018, supporting 100 work opportunities and contributing $307,424 in local 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.

Surry County staff began to undertake tourism marketing in early 2013, following the disincorporation of the Surry County Tourism Bureau, Inc.  Since that time, the County has continued to work with local stakeholders to establish branding and develop exciting marketing initiatives designed to bring attention to Surry and its attractions.    

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


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