The Radford Tourism department has received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program.
The grants have been made available to Virginia’s Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Marketing funds totaling $866,504 have been awarded to 90 organizations statewide.
The funds will be used for several initiatives, including the installation of a digital kiosk at the new location of the Radford Information and Welcome Center, 701A W. Main St., at the corner of Main and Robertson streets.
“With this new location, we’ll be able to help visitors find local businesses and things to do 24 hours a day,” said Deborah Cooney, the director of tourism for Radford City. “In addition, this money will fund the development of video content to showcase Radford’s accessibility to New River recreation and will complete a LOVEworks sculpture project in one of our commercial districts.”
Outdoor recreation draws many visitors to Radford. “Bisset Park, our boat launches and access to the New River are some of our most popular assets,” Cooney said, “and we’re eager to showcase the New River Water Trail, a regional marketing initiative that will promote New River recreation in the NRV.”
As Virginia begins reopening, 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. With this in mind, the WanderLove campaign provides travel inspiration for road trips, outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program.
Tourism is one of the commonwealth’s largest economic engines with visitors in Radford spending more than $16,450,729 in 2018, supporting more than 135 work opportunities and contributing over $1.8 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, job loss and the temporary closure of many tourism-related businesses.
The Radford Tourism and Cultural Arts Commission promotes the city and its assets to people outside of Radford. Successful recent projects include the installation of the Mary Draper Ingles statue and the New River Train Observatory as new tourism products. Websites launched include VisitRadford.com, MaryDraperInglesTrail.com and VisitRadford.com/ArtTrail. Popular special events organized include the Rollin on the River Food Truck Rodeo, the Native American Heritage Festival and the Radford Highlanders Festival.