AUSTRALIA’S leading LGBT travel body, Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA), has announced a new president to oversee its future endeavours.

At GALTA’s Annual General Meeting held during Adelaide’s Feast Festival, Mario Paez was elected to the position succeeding LGBTI travel veteran Rod Stringer.

Paez is the co-director of Planetdwellers, a tour and travel operator for LGBTI visitors in Sydney, and has been on the GALTA board since 2012.

“GALTA has achieved a great deal in the past 12 months in particular, refreshing its profile and developing some strong consumer marketing avenues, and I’m incredibly proud to be part of the association’s future growth,” he said.

“During Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival earlier in the year we launched our new corporate brand along with a consumer platform, Visit Gay Australia, which allows us to more easily connect our members to potential visitors. We followed this with the launch of new social media channels for Visit Gay Australia across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“GALTA also has had a strong focus on talking directly to consumers, attending key city and regional events throughout the year to promote our wide diversity of members.”

Paez said GALTA members were promoted at almost 20 major LGBT festivals across Australia, New Zealand, USA and Cape Town, where the tourism body had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with thousands of people looking for Australian holiday ideas and inspiration.

“In 2017 we will continue building on these achievements by developing more tangible benefits for members via our media and marketing partnerships,” he said.

“We’re also excited to be celebrating 25 years of GALTA next year and will be planning special celebrations at the 2017 AGM with original founders, past and present Board members and members all invited.”

Paez expressed gratitude and appreciation to outgoing president Rod Stringer – a revered figure in the LGBT community and travel industry.

“Significant applause is due to Rod Stringer who has been actively involved with the Board of GALTA for over 20 years, and as President since 2011, deservedly receiving a life time GALTA membership at the AGM and the respect of all in the tourism industry,” he said.

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