Tourism Grant Gives Cape Charles $5,000 Marketing Boost

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By Stefanie Jackson – Cape Charles Main Street has accepted a $5,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage program.

According to a recent Cape Charles Main Street press release, the nonprofit received one of 33 tourism marketing grants given out across the state, totaling $625,000.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced, “Virginia tourism is a crucial sector of our economy and when we invest in this industry, we support local job creation and drive regional economic growth.

“The Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage program gives localities and businesses access to critical marketing resources that will help bring more travelers to our Commonwealth, increase visitor spending, and grow demand for Virginia products.”

Last July, Northam toured downtown Cape Charles and participated in 14 ribbon-cuttings celebrating the new businesses that had opened within the year.

At that event, the governor, an Eastern Shore of Virginia native, said, “We’re a little bit biased, being from the Eastern Shore, but this is truly God’s country, and it is so great to see Cape Charles and the Eastern Shore are thriving.”

The Virginia Tourism Corporation grant will help support Cape Charles Main Street’s Discover Cape Charles advertising campaign, featuring the slogan, “Cape Charles – Virginia’s Cape.”

Cape Charles Main Street is responsible for the town’s participation in the Virginia Main Street program that helps small towns across the commonwealth grow their economies while preserving their history and sense of community.

The local nonprofit is partnering with the Town of Cape Charles and the Cape Charles Business Association to help meet the minimum 2-to-1 grant-matching requirement.

To participate in the market leveraging program, at least three entities must form a financial partnership that may include towns, counties, chambers of commerce, private businesses, museums, attractions, and other cultural and tourist events and organizations.

Funds raised through the partnership will support the creation of a new town map, increased social media presence, and updates to the website, CapeCharlesByTheBay.com

Not to be confused with the town’s official website, CapeCharles.org, loaded with information and resources for residents, the Cape Charles by the Bay website is geared toward visitors, focusing on accommodations, shopping, and tourist activities.

“Over the last few years Cape Charles Main Street, along with its local partners, worked diligently to engage the community, study the market, and build awareness to a broader audience about what a great place Cape Charles is to live, visit, and invest,” said Kyle Meyer, of Virginia Main Street.

“The Virginia Tourism grant is the next logical step to start putting all of that planning to work.”

Campaigns that receive Virginia Tourism Corporation grants for marketing leverage successfully drive 15% more visits to their respective towns, and every dollar invested in the grants results in $16 of visitor spending.

Dollars invested in Virginia tourism provide a 7-to-1 return in tax revenue.

In the last five years, Virginia Main Street downtowns have attracted more than $400 million in private investments and 5,000 jobs, Meyer said.

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said, “Tourism is an important part of Virginia’s economy as it adds to our economic diversity and is an instant revenue generator.

“In 2017, tourism injected $25 billion into the Virginia economy and provided 232,000 jobs. The Marketing Leverage grant helps leverage limited marketing dollars to increase visitor spending and encourage public-private partnership opportunities.”

Suzanne Golibart, owner of the Periwinkles consignment boutique on Mason Avenue, Cape Charles’ commercial main street, said, “Over the past six years, I’ve experienced the vibrancy of the Cape Charles business community firsthand.”

Cape Charles Main Street, “through leveraging grants and enhanced marketing, will directly benefit businesses and encourage this continued vibrancy,” she said.

Visit the Facebook page for Cape Charles Main Street for updates on the organization’s initiatives.