SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. – Smith Mountain Lake’s chamber of commerce received financial assistance Thursday to help the region economically bounce back from the coronavirus.
The chamber accepted a $9,995 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation to entice visitors to the area.
The money will finance a tourism commercial specifically for Virginians, according Smith Mountain Lake’s Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christopher Finley.
“We are incredibly excited to tout the opportunities here for vacationers to experience,” Finley said. “We are open for business and we are here to serve.”
Finley said the businesses in the region depend on the summer traveling season to stay afloat; however, he claimed tourism has actually increased this summer because of the region’s focus on outdoor excursions.
“When the commonwealth pivoted back to Phase 2 and Phase 3, vacationers were willing to get out,” Finley said.
Those visitors included Terry McGhee, who said he watched Smith Mountain Lake fill up as a child. He hopes more people find out about the lake.
“It’s the most secretive treasure there is,” McGhee said. “There are just so many people who live within 50 miles of here that have never been.”
Finley said the grant money will also promote the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford and the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Franklin County.