Nelson Receives VA Tourism Corp DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant for Tourism Marketing


Nelson County, Virginia

Nelson 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.

Nelson County Tourism will use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to position Nelson County as a road trip destination with print, social and digital media campaigns. It will leverage Nelson County’s many road trip adventures to inspire travel here this summer and fall. These road trips will also highlight and provide inspiration for outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns and Nelson County’s unique “roadside attraction” – LOVEworks.

Maureen Kelley, Director of Economic Development and Tourism noted, “The primary economic engine of Nelson County is tourism. Nelson County was the first accredited rural tourism program in the Commonwealth. However, because of its reliance on the hospitality business sector, the County’s tax revenue saw a sharp decline the last quarter of its fiscal year, which occurred during the beginning of the health crisis. Along with the leadership of Virginia Tourism Corporation, this grant will help position Nelson as we carefully and safely welcome visitors. 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.”

“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 Nelson County spending more than $211 million in 2018, supporting 1744 work opportunities and contributing more than $15 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 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


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