PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA –  The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) announced this week that the Prince William County Office of Tourism (d/b/a Visit Prince William, Virginia) will award a $10,000 grant from its ‘DMO Recovery Grant Program’.  The new grant program was developed to aid counties and cities across the Commonwealth that are heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic by funding Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) recovery marketing initiatives. As part of VTC’s ‘WanderLove Recovery Grant’ program 90 DMOs received a total of $866,504 in marketing grant funds.

The Office of Tourism will use the grant funds to promote the County’s abundant collection of outdoor venues and parks, alfresco dining and craft beverage options, and more to residents of DC, Maryland, and Virginia to reinforce the messaging that ‘Prince William County is open for business’.

“We are grateful to be a Virginia Tourism Corporation ‘Wander Love’ grant recipient and part of Virginia’s tourism and economic recovery plan,” stated Prince William County Office of Tourism Director Ann Marie Maher. “Messaging will encourage customers to wear face coverings and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease in our community,” she added.

Research indicates that travelers are seeking safe, close-to-home experiences that allow for social distancing and access to open spaces. With this in mind, the ‘WanderLove’ campaign inspires road trips, outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns, and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program, as Virginia remains in phase three of its Forward Virginia plan.

“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’ give 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 Prince William County spending more than $618 million in 2018, supporting over 6,662 jobs and contributing $36.1 million to 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.