(updated Nov. 18, 2021)
If your question is not answered below, please contact [email protected]
1) Who will be receiving these funds?
The ARPA Tourism Recovery Program will provide ARPA recovery funds to all 133 Virginia counties and independent cities through their local governments.
2) How much money will each locality be receiving?
The allocation amounts for each locality will be available once the online portal opens. Recipients will have access to an online dashboard showing their total allocation and the available balance of funds throughout the duration of the program.
3) Does every locality get an allocation, or do we have to compete for the money?
Every locality will get a set allocation. These funds are not competitive.
4) How were the allocations determined?
VTC determined every locality’s allocation based on the share each locality contributed to state tax revenue generated by tourism in the year 2019. Each locality’s share of the total allocation pool is similar to that share.
5) Why are the localities getting the funds instead of the DMOs?
Available funds have been allocated based on the relative share of each locality to total state tax revenue attributable to tourism in 2019, based on VTC’s annual Economic Impact of Visitors in Virginia report issued by the US Travel Association. Locality results of this study are only provided at the county and county-equivalent independent city levels in Virginia – not at sub-county geographies such as towns.
6) Why are towns not receiving allocations?
VTC does not have uniform or standardized data available to comparatively measure the impact of travel & tourism across Virginia’s towns. Comparative data for localities is only available at the county and independent city level for Virginia’s 133 county and county-equivalent political subdivisions and is provided from VTC’s annual Economic Impact of Visitors in Virginia report issued by the US Travel Association. Towns and town-based DMOs are encouraged to work with their surrounding counties in development of expenditure plans. Note that for counties that include a town-based DMO(s), the county MUST include a letter of support from the town-based DMO(s).
7) Does the locality need to work with our Destination Marketing Organization (DMO)?
All plans submitted should be developed in conjunction with a locality’s existing DMO(s). If your locality has an officially VTC recognized DMO (as of July 31, 2021), a DMO Letter of Support MUST be included with your application. If there are multiple DMOs within your locality, each DMO MUST submit a Letter of Support.
8) How is the primary contact in each locality identified?
The primary contact will be the chief executive of each locality, such as the Administrator or City Manager. That person can then designate anyone as the secondary, but someone authorized to commit the locality to the terms and conditions will have to be the person to fully submit the plan. Secondary contacts for each locality must be submitted to [email protected].
9) Can the funds available from this program be given to other government departments such as parks and recreation?
Yes, but only if used for tourism activities such as sports or meeting facility enhancements which increases the locality’s ability to attract regional, state, or national events. However, the locality must be the one submitting the submission plans.
10) Can a locality change the primary contact to a non-locality person?
Yes, however the locality’s Chief Executive must complete and sign this template on its official letterhead and submit to [email protected].
11) What can these funds be used for?
These funds must be used for tourism marketing and development, including media buys, advertising, public relations, sales, and product development. Funds may not be used for any expenses that are not related to tourism marketing and development, including but not limited to staffing, maintenance, replacing an existing budget, etc. For a list of eligible items that can be used with ARPA funds, click here.
12) What will my locality need to do to receive these funds?
Localities must submit an expenditure plan on how the allocated funds will be spent, which will include reporting and documentation requirements necessary to meet the federal instructions related to the appropriate uses of the funds. All plans must be submitted via the online portal provided.
13) Can we submit multiple plans?
No, you must submit a single plan that lists each of the separate components of your overall plan. That will enable us to track the money more easily.
14) Is there the ability to revise spending plans once submitted?
Yes, you will have an opportunity to modify your plan after submission, but you must contact Horne to re-open it. Any new expenses would have to be pre-approved for them to be eligible.
15) Is there any kind of draft review for submission plans?
There is no review planned, but VTC is available to assist as you develop the plan while it is under development.
16) Can the submission plans include retroactive spending?
No, funds must be used for new projects.
17) How will the funds be distributed and when will localities receive the funds?
Localities will be able to draw up to 50% of their allocated funds upon approval of the submitted expenditure plan. Once localities have substantiated the initial advancement of funds, recipients will be able to request funds as they incur eligible costs. Each recipient will have access to the online portal where these requests are made. All Requests for Funding (RFFs) must include attached supporting documentation for expenses incurred. Payments will be made as soon as administratively possible after your request is approved. First advance funds for allocations are expected to begin January 2022.
18) Is there a limit on the number of Requests for Reimbursement (RFFs) that a recipient may submit?
No. A recipient may submit an unlimited number of RFFs for eligible expenses under this program. If a recipient submits RFFs for an amount over and above its allocation, those RFFs will be held in the system and not reimbursed unless corrected.
19) What substantiating documentation for program expenses will be required?
Supporting documentation can include and may not be limited to receipts, invoices, and proof of payment, which can include check stubs, credit card statements, bank statements, or any other documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the expense was actually paid by the recipient. Recipients should also include a narrative with their reimbursement request providing more detail stating what the expenses were used for and how the expense aids in recovery response.
20) When are expenditure plans due?
Expenditure plan submissions can begin as early as October 29, 2021. Plan submissions must be received by no later than December 31, 2022. Approvals will be made as plans are submitted and reviewed.
21) How will my locality receive the payment for the reimbursement?
Payments will be made following the settings associated with your supplier ID in the online portal.
22) What is the deadline to spend the funds?
Recipients must commit to spending all funds and submit the appropriate reporting requirements by December 31, 2023, or else submit a request by then including a detailed plan explaining how they will spend their remaining fund balance before the deadline, along with their RFF demonstrating what that expense is, when payment is due, and how the expense aids in recovery response to COVID-19. Reimbursements for expenses after this deadline will not be reimbursed until proof of payment is supplied through the online portal.
23) Are there ways localities can work with VTC on using these funds?
Yes! The following programs are available for partners to use as is beneficial to their ARPA-funded marketing and/or tourism product development efforts. Your use of these resources is optional, not a requirement of ARPA funding, and you are welcome to use them in any combination that is helpful for you. Please review this comprehensive list of Eligible and Ineligible Items.
Marketing Resources for Partners:
- WanderLove Creative
- For: Partners seeking campaign creative to use in their marketing programs.
- What: The newly refreshed WanderLove creative brings a sense of whimsy and nostalgia to this widely successful campaign. The focus will remain on road trips and safe travel experiences.
- Paid Media Program
- For: Partners seeking strategic media vendors to help achieve their marketing goals.
- What: VTC is providing vetted advertising programs for consideration, but partners may ultimately choose to work with any vendor they’d like.
- Paid Media Guidelines
- For: Partners seeking budget guidance media planning tips for paid advertising.
- What: VTC has compiled budget examples and media planning tips to help you build your own paid media plan.
Product Development Options for Partners:
- ARPA Tourism Product Development – VTC has opportunities for DMOs to utilize their ARPA grant funding for community tourism development projects identified through the DRIVE 2.0 program. The DRIVE 2.0 program focuses on identifying a community’s most competitive tourism product development need. These projects may be eligible for ARPA grant funding.
- In addition, communities may also use ARPA funds for general Tourism Development projects as long as it is completed and fully available to the consumer for usage by ARPA deadline and can show that it helped with economic recovery by attracting new travelers.
24) Our locality is applying/has applied for other federal or VTC grants. Can we still receive allocations?
Yes! Localities can submit plans for ARPA funds regardless of other grants they have already applied for. However, localities must be clear on their submitted expenditure plans about how the ARPA funds will be used. Programs using funds from other grants may complement each other, but the locality cannot use ARPA funds and funds from other grants for the exact same project.
25) Will funds to support bringing in meetings and sports events to our locality be available?
VTC has set aside ARPA funds for sports and meetings as well. For more details on that program, click here.
26) Who do I contact with any questions?
Any questions regarding the online portal for expenditure plan submissions can be directed to [email protected].