Southeast Tourism Society Honors Governor Bob McDonnell
RICHMOND - Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has been named the recipient of the 2011 Governmental Tourism Leadership Award by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS). The award honors an elected official whose support or influence greatly enhanced the tourism industry.
While running for governor in 2009, McDonnell promised increased investment in tourism promotion and support for the film industry in order to generate more jobs for the Commonwealth. Soon after his 2010 inauguration, Governor McDonnell presented budget amendments calling for $3.6 million per year for tourism marketing and $2.5 million in motion picture tax credits. In 2011 he successfully proposed an additional $1 million for matching tourism marketing grants and $4 million for the Governor's Motion Picture Opportunity Fund.
"My administration has prioritized making smart investments in tourism and film promotion in Virginia," said Governor McDonnell. "Tourism and film are instant revenue generators for the Commonwealth and support good, solid jobs for Virginians. We are already beginning to see the benefits of these investments with tourism numbers trending upward and the major motion picture Lincoln being filmed in Virginia."
Due to the increased marketing support from Governor McDonnell and the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Tourism Corporation has been able to expand its marketing to visitors through the Virginia is for Lovers campaign. VTC was able to run television ads in out of state markets for the first time in four years. VTC increased tourism marketing grants for localities both in number and amount. The Virginia Film Office successfully landed the Steven Spielberg major motion picture Lincoln and the Garth Brooks made-for-TV movie Unanswered Prayers.
"The support for tourism from Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly is a great investment for Virginia," said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "Every dollar Virginia invests in tourism marketing the state sees a $5 return in tax revenue alone. We appreciate the confidence that our lawmakers have placed in this agency and look forward to working together to bring more visitors to Virginia."
Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society is dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism to its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, convention and visitors bureaus and other travel-related organizations.
In 2010 tourism in Virginia generated $18.9 billion in revenue, providing $1.3 billion in state and local taxes and supporting more than 200,000 jobs. For more information about travel in Virginia visit http://www.virginia.org/.
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