13-Oct-2017 | Written by Rod Stringer - Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia
In this era of digital media, pro-active websites and online marketing we might ask the question: Are we best representing our membership by attending the many regional and state Pride festivals and fair days?
Since GALTA was first inaugurated some 25 years ago, we have had a continuous presence at these events… distributing members brochures and conducting prize giveaways. Even before the advent of the Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day, GALTA conducted some very successful Gay Tourism Expos in both Sydney and Melbourne.
In addition, we have been an active member and Australian representative for the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association ( IGLTA). We have attended some 16 of their annual conventions and promoted Australia internationally as a gay welcoming destination. We were successful in winning a bid to host one of these events in 1996 which was held in Sydney.
The Sydney and Melbourne events now attract well over 100,000 attendees each. They are so successful that many mainstream businesses recognise the benefit of exhibiting and showing their support for our community.
Over the past few years we have seen many regional towns set up their own Pride Fair days including Alice Springs, Cairns, Geelong, Lismore, Shepparton and the Sunshine Coast. One of the longest running regional LGBT events, the Chillout Festival in Daylesford will celebrate its 21st Anniversary in 2018. These events play an important role in creating a focus on annual celebrations and the gathering of the regional GLBTQ communities.
GALTA has found over the past few years that an average of 30 - 40 members regularly contribute brochures for distribution for each event. As well our new Members Wall of Pride at our Oxford Street Sydney premises has been a popular spot for visitors to call in and find out about our members and travel destinations.
We realise that the popularity of Google and other search engines, tourists and visitors can readily access these websites and research gay welcoming destinations and properties. The printing and distribution of brochures is now regarded as secondary to online marketing.
However we still consider that attending fair days is important - to keep our brand in the public eye, as well as continually building our database of GLBT travellers... a very valued resource for our members to directly market their properties, tours and events.
Image: OUT in the OPEN Festival Shepparton - photo by Vincent Cooper