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Volume 24, Number 9 — September 2017

PUSH! Film Festival receives grant

October 02, 2016

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Believe in Bristol received $5,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund. In total VTC awarded $927,000 for 43 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginias localities through tourism.

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will impact at least 159 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 $2.3 million, providing more than $3.2 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

Believe in Bristol received a $2,500 grant for its PUSH! Film Festival, which takes place the weekend of Oct. 21-23, in historic downtown Bristol. Believe in Bristol partnered with Birthplace of Country Music and Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau to supply $2,500 in matching funds for the project. PUSH! is a celebration of the cinematic and visual arts in the heart of the twin cities of Bristol, TN/VA. The festival brings diverse films to the community and showcases the best regional and national filmmakers in order to expand the artistic image of this region, engage new audiences and inspire creativity.

"We must realize the full potential of these incredible new opportunities in Bristol. Downtown Bristol more than anything else represents the authentic 'Bristol Experience.' It's where people fall in love with the town," said Believe in Bristol Executive Director Christina Blevins. "With the nearly-universal appeal of the visual arts that transcends geographical and language barriers, PUSH! Film Festival continues to garner the attention of community members as well as local, regional, national, and international filmmakers with submissions from nearly 30 countries including Turkey, India, Australia, and Spain."

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 percent.

These grants support businesses across the Commonwealth, contributing to the overall economic health of our communities, said Todd Haymore, 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 a revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported nearly 222,600 jobs and provided $1.6 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.

A! ExtraTopics: Film