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New market to explore

By Mark Beale

WHITSUNDAYS Marketing and Development Limited (WMDL) has strengthened its partnership with Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA) in a push to explore new market opportunities.

Representatives from both organisations met earlier this month to discuss opportunities for promoting the Whitsundays, ahead of the GALTA annual general meeting, which was held in Airlie Beach.

GALTA president Rod Stringer said gay and lesbian travellers, with their high disposable income, spent an estimated $20billion annually on travel and travel-related items.

“And we look forward to working with the Whitsundays’ tourism operators to promote their wonderful attractions through our association and our worldwide connections,” he said.

Peter Brooks, who runs the Whitsunday Moorings B&B in Airlie Beach, lists the business online as being “gay and lesbian friendly”.

Nonetheless, Mr Brooks said he hadn’t had many gay couples staying at the six-bedroom bed and breakfast facility.

“I think if they [Whitsunday tourism] are going after the gay market they need to provide things for the gay market, like a gay bar,” he suggested.

“We don’t have that at Airlie – there is nothing really exclusively gay yet.”

Meanwhile, other regions, such as Cairns, are already cashing in on the gay and lesbian market.

The Far North Queensland capital boasts Turtle Cove Beach Resort, which is an exclusively gay and lesbian resort.

WMDL’s executive director Jeff Aquilina said his organisation was always trying to explore new niche market opportunities to stimulate further growth for the Whitsundays, and with GALTA taking a more proactive approach in promoting destinations and holidays to their members and stakeholders, there was a great opportunity for the Whitsundays.

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