Backyard History

Visit Alexandria Receives Grant to Expand Marketing of City’s Black History

Edmonton Sisters statue, City of Alexandria. Photo by Evan Michio Cantwell

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Visit Alexandria announced this afternoon that it has received a $20,000 grant to expand its marketing of Black history and culture. The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) awarded the grant through their Recovering Marketing Leverage Program (RMLP).

According to a press release, the program is “designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds.”

With the grant, Visit Alexandria will be able to produce videos and other media, including web content about Black-owned businesses and African American heritage sites. The plan is to highlight areas such as those that can be  seen during the Courageous Journey: Alexandria’s Black History Driving Tour and Duke Street Black History Trail.

In 2019, the City of Alexandria, the Office of Historic Alexandria, and Visit Alexandria renewed their commitment to racial equity. The Black Lives Matter movement transitioned them from discussion to action. Consulting with Alexandria Black History Museum Director Audrey Davis, Visit Alexandria created marketing that coincided with the Juneteenth holiday. The tourism bureau also created the blog,post,  24 Black-Owned Businesses in Alexandria to Support Right Now.  Earning press coverage, it is Visit ALX’s most-viewed post this year.

Tourism and Virginia

Tourism gives a big boost to the Virginia economy. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the industry. Last year, visitors from more than 50 miles away spent $881 million, generating $28.6 million in local tax revenues. As the pandemic has progressed, industry workers have experienced job loss and businesses have been forced to close.

With the VTC funding grants of more than $1.9 million to various entities, it is expected that local partners will contribute more than $5.6 million to the RMLP.

“These funds give 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,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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