RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that 27 counties will be included in a new program that will provide communities with a $10,000 grant to boost tourism.

Several localities in Southwest Virginia will partake in the program known as DRIVE 2.0, including Bristol, Scott County, Smyth County, Damascus, Marion and Saltville.

Virginia Tourism Corporation developed the program to give communities the opportunity to brainstorm ways to attract visitors and turn plans into action.

“Tourism is big business in Virginia, but we must continue to innovate and improve to remain successful against our competition,” said Caren Merrick, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The DRIVE 2.0 workshops have equipped Virginia communities with the tools needed to create best-in-class promotion strategies for new and original tourism products and programs.

“These initiatives will attract more travelers and visitor spending to the Commonwealth, and will help Virginians and visitors alike to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”

Communities must complete all of the workshops to receive the $10,000 grant. Youngkin stated in a news release that the efforts will create more jobs for Virginians.

“The completion of the DRIVE 2.0 workshops ​and the creation of more than 100 new tourism programs signal a new era in tourism development and marketing in the Commonwealth,” said Youngkin. “Investing in new tourism product development, infrastructure and programs is a proven strategy for improving our economy by increasing jobs and tax revenue.

“This will lead to meaningful change for our communities across the Commonwealth, and further underscores Virginia’s reputation as the best place to live, work, and travel.”

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