Among the travel trailblazers in attendance were Rainbow Tourism’s own Dee Farrell, the lone surviving member of the Charter Group of 25 that convened in 1983 and gave birth to IGTA (Intl. Gay Travel Assn.)
Aldis Alexander, a travel planner from CT, is on her left. He served on the IGTA board for many years and has been a continuous member of the group since 1984. It is know known as IGLTA, with the coinage of The L Word.
Fred Kohn is the only three-term president of the 1000-member association. When he was top leader, GALTA was born in Australia after representatives met with Dee, Fred and Aldis at the 4th convention in New Orleans in 1987.
Needless to say, they earned those silver hairs, as anyone who’s served on an international board knows! IGLTA acknowledged their long-service and accomplishments during the 4-day confab in Sin City.
Coincidentally, the Las Vegas pride organization was also celebrating its silver anniversary that week and they invited IGLTA delegates to carry flags of our nations in their Pride Parade. More than 25 countries were represented at the convention, and we were thrilled to march with the locals. (It reminded me of when we marched in the 1993 March on Washington under the IGTA banner and our state flags. Aldis brought along a photo of that event to show that we didn’t always have silver hair and wrinkles!)
Rainbow Tourism’s other half, Mark Proffit of Sydney, found more than one fellow Aussie at the meeting, and especially enjoyed chatting with Mich from Boston on the left. Tom Nibbio, r, International Sales Manager for IGLTA, has tapped Mark as Ambassador to Australia for the association, and challenged him to get 100 members from Australia and the South Pacific to join before the annual conventions in Toronto 2009 and Antwerp 2010.