Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) is pleased to announce program details for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Meeting & Convention Incentive Program.
COVID-19 has had a continued and devastating impact on Virginia’s meetings & convention industry. As the Commonwealth prepares to restore tourism economic impact, VTC is offering these funds to be used for event incentives and marketing promotions targeted specifically at attracting new meetings and conventions to spur economic activity and travel across the Commonwealth.
The Virginia General Assembly appropriated $50 million to the VTC in ARPA funds to revitalize the tourism industry. See the language from Chapter 1, 2021 Acts of Assembly below:
1) $50,000,000 to the Virginia Tourism Authority (320) to support local domestic marketing organizations, as well as the Authority’s marketing and incentive programs.
Of the $50 million appropriated, $1 million will be committed to a Meeting & Convention incentive program.
VTC has retained the services of a professional management company, Horne LLP, as a partner in developing and implementing Tourism’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) program. Horne will collect and review all program applications for compliance with VTC’s guidelines and broader state and federal compliance. The company will also be responsible for managing and retaining all federally required documentation to ensure that this program meets all federal regulations and can withstand potential audits.
The portals are currently available for applicants to view the status of their existing applications and to submit expense receipts/documentation. Meeting & Convention Portal Access and Sports Events Portal Access
The Meetings Application Portal is OPEN. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Please review the meetings grant submission instructions document and How to Use the Portal webinar prior to applying. Meeting & Convention Portal Access
For Questions, applicants should contact Horne first, and if specific VTC input is needed, Horne will contact the appropriate VTC staff member. Please use the following email and specify the incentive program you are inquiring about:
- Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs/CVBs)
- Meeting Venues – i.e., convention center, event venue, hotel
- City or County local government agency
CRITERIA TO MEET FOR EVENT TO QUALIFY FOR FUNDING:
- Professional meetings, conventions and events only. Meetings/Events not eligible for the program include – (weddings, fraternal (unless national), social events and group tours (except for group tour national convention).
- New event to the destination/venue not held in the destination for at least three years.
- The Meeting/Event must be contracted on or after December 7, 2021.
- Must be a competitively bid meeting, convention or event.
- Must bring attendees from outside the area (100 miles or more).
- Minimum size of the event must be 50+ attendees.
- Meeting/Event must be multi-day. Single day events will be considered if they bring a majority of attendees from outside the area (100 miles or more).
GENERAL AWARD GUIDELINES:
Based on anticipated number of attendees/staff outlined in contract:
- 50 – 250 people = up to $5,000
- 251-750 people = up to $10,000
- 751 – 1250 people = up to $15,000
- 1251+ people = $20,000+
NOTE: Lesser or larger amounts may be awarded.
- There is NO match requirement.
- State/Federal agencies are not eligible to apply for this funding.
- Applicants must be a Virginia based business. Out-of-state businesses will not receive funds.
- Only one application will be approved for an event. DMO and venue can’t both apply for the same event.
- Applicants should reach out to their local DMO to let them know you are submitting this application.
- Only online submissions will be accepted.
- Applicants can submit documentation for application approval prior to contracting: however, applicants will not receive funds until after the event and a copy of the contract and proof of payment(s) are submitted.
- Please do NOT send – via email or regular mail – any attachments or supplemental materials. Submit them through the VTC ARPA application portal.
You are encouraged to engage your local DMO by informing them of your project and plan. Your DMO can be a good resource for assisting with submitting proposals for sports event business.
For a list of recognized Virginia DMOs, please visit https://www.vatc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/DMOlist.pdf.
The web pages found under vatc.org/arpa/arpa-meetings/ contain guidance and information to assist in creating and submitting your application to utilize the federal ARPA fund allocations as appropriated by the Governor and the General Assembly. Reporting and documentation requirements necessary to meet the federal instructions related to the appropriate uses of the funds based on specific criteria can be found within the application portal. This document provides the questions in the application. In addition to this information, please refer to the FAQs page, the Eligible/Ineligible items reference page for further assistance.
NOTE: APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED ONLINE VIA THE PORTAL.
Read the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Meeting & Convention Marketing Incentive Program Eligible & Ineligible Expenses for a list of eligible expenses under the VTC-ARPA Recovery Program.
- Application submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis.
- VTC and the review committee will review your application (typically within 2-4 weeks) and successful applications will be notified.
- Meeting or Event must be held in Virginia no later than June 30, 2024.
- Meeting or Event must be contracted by December 31, 2022 for applications submitted during the initial April 1 – May 31, 2022 period. For applications submitted July 25, 2022 or later, the contract MUST be signed no later than 6 months from the application submission date.
- Expense receipts MUST be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days after the event.
NOTE: You MUST notify us immediately at [email protected] if the event is not confirmed and contracted in Virginia.
NOTE: You MUST notify us immediately at [email protected] if the contracted event is canceled, rescheduled or downsized.
Thank you for participating in this process. Together we can work to restore a healthy tourism economy for Virginia. For further information, please visit the VATC.org homepage, where you will find additional resources to help develop your plan, including:
- Contact for Assistance – Please specify the incentive program you are inquiring about.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Meeting & Convention Eligible & Ineligible Expenses