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Tourism Council

2023 Spring Marketing Assistance Grant

The Highland Tourism Council announces the opening of the 2023 Fall Marketing Assistance Grant to provide funding for local organizations and businesses with an emphasis on attracting visitors to Highland County and improving visitors’ experiences.

DEADLINE: April 30, 2023



Physical copies are available at the Highland County Visitor Center or the Highland County Chamber of Commerce office between 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday, both located at The Highland Center at 61 Highland Center Drive in Monterey.

Physical copies must returned to the office of The Highland County Chamber of Commerce, located at The Highland Center at 61 Highland Center Drive in Monterey, by the end of the day on April 30, 2023.  If The Chamber Office is not open, please leave your application on the Visitor Center’s desk across the hall from the Chamber Office and contact the Chamber at 540-468-2550 to notify them that you have done so.  Applications may be emailed to  Please also reach out with any questions.

Applications will be reviewed by the Highland Tourism Council in May of 2023.

We look forward to seeing your applications!


Need further help with writing grants?  Check out free SCORE counseling at


TOP: Lori Botkin,
Executive Director of the Highland Historical Society, and the
Tol'able David display, past award recipient

BOTTOM: Excerpt of the, past award recipient

(click each to enlarge)

The Highland Tourism Council works closely with the Highland County Chamber of Commerce on the goals and objectives set out in the Tourism Strategic Plan that was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2014. They advise on all marketing initiatives and funds allocated through the Transient Occupancy Tax from Highland County and Town of Monterey lodging facilities.

The five-member Council is a subcommittee of the Economic Development Authority of Highland County.  It is made up of five volunteers who represent various tourism interests in the county and consists of a member of the EDA or their designee, a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board, a representative of the lodging businesses, and two members at large who represent tourism interests of the county.

The mission of the Council is to increate sustainable tourism to benefit and improve the quality of life for current citizens, future residents, and visitors.  The vision is for Highland County to be a destination welcoming visitors and providing opportunities to experience its culture, traditions, history, and natural beauty.  The goal is to stimulate targeted tourism initiatives that will promote economic development and population growth in Highland County while protecting and enriching the quality of life for its residents.

Chris Swecker, Executive Director of the Highland Chamber of Commerce, also serves as Executive Director of the Tourism Council.  The duties of the office of Treasurer will be performed by the Treasurer of the Economic Development Authority (EDA), which is currently Betty Mitchell.

The 2023 Council members include:

Marty Leech – Chair (Chamber of Commerce Board Member):

Jeff Purdue – Lodging Representative:

Lori Botkin – Tourism Council Member:

Chuck Neely - Tourism Council Member:

Bryan Obaugh – EDA Member Representative:


The Highland Tourism Council meets at The Highland Center's Event Room in Monterey (61 Highland Center Drive) at 7 pm typically during the second Monday every other month, accompanied by a virtual Zoom option.  PLEASE REVIEW official meeting Zoom login information below for the most accurate meeting times and location.  Please contact Executive Director Chris Swecker at or call 540-468-2550 for the meeting information if it is not listed below. Any member of the public who is interested in finding out more about the Council is welcome and encouraged to attend these meetings.

For in-person meetings, The Highland Tourism Council will be following current Virginia and CDC guidelines regarding the coronavirus for everyone’s safety, which recommend that all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people wear a mask and practice social distancing in public settings.  Please stay home if you have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, if you have had a positive diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19, if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or if you have had known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days.  If you become aware of being diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending a meeting, please contact or 540-468-2550 in order to evaluate next steps.

Next Highland Tourism Council Meetings:

•  Monday, April 10 at 7 pm  - Meeting in-person at The Highland Center (61 Highland Center Drive, Monterey).  Virtual Zoom Info:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 870 2366 6170
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December 12, 2019 Online Marketing Workshop

The Highland County Tourism Council partnered with Virginia Community Capital to present a free workshop focused on helping small businesses learn about resources, opportunities, technology and more to promote their business in this century on December 12, 2019 at The Highland Center.  Thank you to all who attended!

The event was live-streamed on Facebook.  In case you missed it or want to watch it again, you can view the full presentation at:

In addition, you can view and download a pdf file of the full PowerPoint presentation here: VCC Online Marketing Presentation B&W

More resources:

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