Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has played host to Australia’s lead LGBT+ travel association, Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA), which held its Annual General Meeting in Mooloolaba, welcoming the organisation’s first female President.

Following a productive three years under the leadership of outgoing President Mario Paez, co-Director and Managing Director of LGBT+ tour and travel operator Planetdwellers, the national association will set new directions with experienced tourism marketing professional Louise Terry taking on the lead role.

Bringing over 20 years’ experience in tourism and destination marketing, Ms Terry has served as a GALTA Board Director and, prior to launching strategy and marketing company, Kindred Tourism, headed up marketing with Tourism Noosa and guided strategy development for Tourism Victoria, including the State’s gay and lesbian tourism marketing.

“I’m excited and really honoured to be stepping into this role, working with a highly skilled Board of Directors that collectively bring decades of experience from resort management and senior aviation roles to retail travel and destination marketing.

“Our number one focus is to create and deliver beneficial opportunities for our members.”

“Mario has done an outstanding job leading the association over the last three years to generate proactive benefits for members, along with launching a new corporate and consumer brand and driving consumer engagement via targeted digital and community marketing.

“Building on these achievements, an immediate focus for myself and the Board will be to set a strong and clear strategic direction for LGBT+ tourism in Australia, in consultation with our members, event partners and key players in the tourism and travel industry.”

“We’ll be looking at how we can further support regional areas in Australia to grow LGBT+ tourism and will also be building our partnerships with events and the private sector to better connect national and international visitors with welcoming businesses and experiences.”

With the recent announcement that Sydney will host WorldPride 2023, Ms Terry said that GALTA also looks forward to working with lead agencies, including Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Tourism Australia, in attracting visitors from around the world.

“Our congratulations and thanks go to all those involved in this global bid to bring such a significant event to Australia, which will see an estimated 1 million visitors converging on Sydney for WorldPride 2023 and exploring regional destinations both before and after the event.”

“Looking forward, GALTA also has a role to play in supporting the weddings industry to connect with same-sex couples who are planning their special day and we’ll be working with current and new members to drive opportunities in this space.”

Held at the Mooloolaba Surf Club on Saturday 26 October, the GALTA 2019 AGM was followed by a tourism industry networking event, hosted by Visit Sunshine Coast, and a day touring the hinterland to visit GALTA members supported by Coast to Hinterland Tours, Glass on Glasshouse, The Country House at Hunchy, Spicers Clovelly Estate and Spicers Tamarind Retreat.

The GALTA Board elected positions are:

President | Media & Partnerships: Louise Terry
Vice President: Ty Sutherland
Company Secretary: Gerry Bourke
Treasurer | National Representative Liaison: Rod Stringer
Media | Social Media: Dennis Basham