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Upper James River Water Trail receives grant money to become a premier water trail destination

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ROANOKE (WSLS10) - The Upper James River Trail is getting $35,750 to attract new visitors.

The money comes via a Virginia Tourism grant.

The funds will be used to promote the Upper James River Water trail as a regional outdoor attraction and the premier water trail destination in the state, which will in turn bring in more visitors and more tourism money for the area.

Read the full release below -

James River Association and Partners Receive Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Upper James River Water Trail

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the James River Association and its partners received $35,750 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund for the Upper James River Water Trail. In total VTC awarded more than $812,000 for 39 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia's localities through tourism.

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 153 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.6 million, providing more than $3.4 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

The James River Association and its partners received a $35,750 grant for the Upper James River Water Trail. The James River Association partnered with Botetourt County, Rockbridge County, Town of Buchanan, Town of Glasgow, Twin River Outfitters, Wilderness Canoe Co., and Chesapeake Conservancy to supply $71,500 in matching funds for the project. The partners are working together to promote the Upper James River Water Trail as a regional outdoor recreation attraction and the premier water trail destination in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"The grant will be used to regionalize the water trail, whereby expanding it beyond the original borders of Botetourt County," said Lisa Moorman, Botetourt County's Tourism Manager. "Doing so will allow an extended experience with even more recreational opportunities for visitors who enjoy the James River. The partnership will assist with expanded marketing to help promote the trail at an even greater level than before."

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending.  A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply and may consist of Virginia towns, cities, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other not-for-profit entities.

"The Marketing Leverage Grant program is designed to spur job creation, economic development, and visitor spending through new or enhanced tourism product," said Governor McAuliffe. "These grants are proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and effective marketing programs."

Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15%.

"These grants support businesses across the Commonwealth, contributing to the overall economic health of our communities," said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. "These public-private partnership are a wonderful example of the power of collaboration, and help support and grow a robust and diversified economy, encouraging strategic marketing of tourism products and businesses across the Commonwealth."

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2014, tourism generated $22.4 billion in revenue, supported nearly 217,000 jobs and provided $1.5 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.  Visit www.Virginia.org to learn more about vacation destinations in Virginia or call 1-800-VISITVA to receive a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.