Virginia Marine Trades Association Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Tourism Marketing, Promoting Virginia Boat Life

Virginia has long been a haven for boat lovers – power and sail, alike – and this week, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the Virginia Marine Trades Association received $2,500 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund to entice boaters from all over to enjoy Virginia’s waters and coastal towns.

In total VTC awarded more than $772,000 for 62 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.

The Virginia Marine Trades Association will use the grant funds to build out a full marketing campaign and online resource tool to attract boaters to Virginia waters and coastal towns. All told, between the grant and matching funds provided by the Association and partner groups, the effort includes $8,500 of marketing funds allocated to the project.

“We need to do something to get families back into boating and this grant will go a long way in helping us do that,” said John Phillips, a Virginia Marine Trades Association Board Member and President of Phillips Energy, which supplies marine fuels in Tidewater, Va. Phillips is an active boater and his company helped provide some of the matching funds required to secure the grant.

“Boating is such a great family activity,” Phillips added, “and getting more families on the water to pass the love of boating onto the next generation is an important part of our mission.”

In addition to Phillips Energy, the following organizations supplied matching funds for this project:

  • Dare Marina
  • SunTex Marina
  • Norview Marina
  • Prince William Marina
  • Tranquil Waters
  • ValvTect
  • Norton Yachts
  • Annapolis Yacht Sales
  • Regent Point Marina
  • Mymic
  • Eyre Baldwin, Association Board Member
  • Chesapeake Boat Works
  • Keith Ruse, Association Board Member

Consociate Media, an integrated marketing and communications firm based in Tidewater, Va. has been selected to design and execute the project.

“This effort aims to unite marinas and restaurants, boutiques and hotels, and more,” said Stephanie Heinatz of Consociate Media. “The story of boating in Virginia is a great one to tell and showing people the beautiful assets all of our coastal towns have to offer will not only benefit the businesses where boaters choose to spend their time and money, but it will also help a new generation of boaters learn to love the water and provide an economic boost to the coastal regions.”

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 260 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $3.64 million, providing more than $4.4 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

Boating in Virginia and the entire project will also include in-land areas and the great lake, fresh-water marine opportunities throughout the state.

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending.

Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in $16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15%.

“The Marketing Leverage Program grants provide vital funding to our tourism businesses across the Commonwealth, helping to make Virginia an incredible place to visit, but also to live,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

For more information about this boating in Virginia tourism project, contact Stephanie Heinatz at or 757.713.2199.

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