The West Virginia Tourism Commission announced Monday at the Governor's Conference on Tourism that 10 applicants were approved for funding through the Matching Advertising Partnership Program.
The Tourism Matching Advertising Partnership Program is a reimbursable partnership program that provides matching funds for innovative and effective direct advertising projects that increase visitation and travel expenditures in the State of West Virginia impacting the economic growth of the travel industry.
Commission Ron Marcus shared that there are many requests made for the grant funding which are then narrowed down. The ten voted on at the Shepherdstown meeting were all from the category seeking $10,000 or above. In addition to those seeking these higher funds, there are two additional categories of those not above $7,500 to be used solely for advertising purposes and those not above $5,000 which are given solely for fairs and festivals and the advertising related to those events.
At Monday's session of grant approvals, a total of $1,165,884.09 was awarded to ten different entities. Included in that amount was $381,842.18 for Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Representatives present explained how they will use the funds to further advertising to draw individuals to Jefferson County and the Eastern Panhandle, not only for gaming, but also to visit the area and tourism entities with which the casino partners. Among those partners were the Jefferson County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the Bavarian Inn and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
Wheeling Island and Mountaineer Casino also received a piece of the pie with nearly $185,000 going to Mountaineer and just over $112,000 to Wheeling.
Others who received significant grant funding were the Cabell Huntington Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the American Mountain Theater in Elkins, and Winterplace Ski Resort, among others.
The awards, while sizable, are not simply there for the taking. Strict guidelines are in place for applicants. Criteria for consideration for the MAPP Program includes:
The project demonstrates potential for a strong positive return on investment and is well researched.
The project promotes a viable tourism destination, attraction or festival.
The project is a part of the applicant's overall marketing plan.
The project includes repeat marketing efforts and the results from those efforts justify repeat funding. Applications for projects that include repeat marketing efforts shall contain information demonstrating that such repeat marketing efforts are in addition to regular ongoing advertising activities.
The geographic advertising markets appear reasonable and based upon research.
The project demonstrates how it will increase visitation, length of stay and/or tourism expenditures from outside a 50-mile radius, or in a major out of state market.
The project includes tracking and evaluation measures.
The project will have a significant impact on the area's overall tourism efforts.
The project involves partnerships that leverage additional public/private investment.
The project supports advertising activities that are over and above regular ongoing advertising activities.
The project contains a complete media breakout.
More information on the MAPP program can be found at www.wvcommerce.org.