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Sonders & Beach Launches World’s First AI-Powered LGBTQ+ Travel Index

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David Perry & Associates, Inc / (415) 676-7007 /

Sonders & Beach Launches World’s First AI-Powered LGBTQ+ Travel Index To Analyze and Rate LGBTQ+ Friendly Destinations, Hotels and Operators

Index Enhances Company’s ‘QueerVadis’ LGBTQ+ Certification Program for the Travel and Hospitality Industry

9 July 2024 – San Francisco, CA: International travel and hospitality provider Sonders & Beach has introduced the travel industry’s first AI-powered LGBTQ+ Index. Designed in collaboration with technology provider The Data Appeal, the index analyzes online contents, comments, and user reviews for destinations, hotels, and operators to provide real-time ratings based on gender and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. The Index is the latest enhancement to Sonders & Beach’s QueerVadis LGBTQ+ Accreditation and Certification program. It serves as a critical tool for members to compare their services against competitors, strengthen their offerings to the LGBTQ+ community, and better address customer needs to improve their travel experience.

A $200 Billion Industry
LGBTQ+ travel is a powerful and influential part of the global tourism industry. World-wide, it is a $200 billion industry and comprises more than 10 per cent of all travelers. In Europe, there were 67 million LGBTQ+ tourist arrivals in 2023. This represents an economic value of 55 billion euros and a 27.9 % growth over the previous year, according to the European LGBTQ+ Travel Alliance (ELTA). 

ELTA, which offers an annual platform for industry leaders and institutions to discuss inclusive travel in Europe, held its recent meeting in Brussels, Belgium under the high patronage of the European Parliament. Focusing on the general state of LGBTQ+ tourism, participants included major players such as AccorHotels, BestWestern, EasyJet, European Travel Commission, Sojern, ENIT, Visit Malta, Visit Brussels,  and ECTAA (European Travel Agency & Tour Operator Association).

Minimizing ‘Pink Washing’
Alessio Virgili, CEO & Founder of the Sonders & Beach Group, is also president of ELTA. At the meeting, he observed the importance of encouraging companies to adopt more inclusive policies that better align with Europe’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity goals. He called for an end to the practice of “pink washing,” in which companies describe themselves inclusive without actually adopting DEI policies that are verifiable by a third party.

“The growing power of the LGBTQ+ consumer in travel offers a valuable opportunity for companies to adopt inclusive policies through more dedicated training and internationally recognized certifications,” said Virgili. “Destinations must take concrete actions that guarantee a safe and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community beyond merely referencing them for marketing purposes.”

According to Virgili, initiatives like Sonders & Beach’s QueerVadis LGBTQ+ Certification program, now powered by AI, are essential to helping entities meet the rigorous regulatory standards and protocols necessary to ensure LGBTQ+ clients experience a respectful and fully welcoming environment. 

“These certifications assure travelers that the hotels, services or destinations they are patronizing truly offers them the freedom to be themselves without fear of harassment or judgement,” he said.  

AI Powered Engine
QueerVadis’ LGBTQ+ Index employs complex algorithm that, through its powerful AI engine, analyzes online content from a gender inclusivity perspective. It compares the results against competitors and suggests the best courses of action to make an organization or destination more welcoming and inclusive. Members can utilize the vast wealth of insight it generates to make more informed decisions in investments and services, and to better focus their marketing campaigns to align with LGBTQ+ clients’ expectations and the organizations’ sustainability goals. It can easily be integrated into members’ websites, platforms, software or apps. It is updated once a month to provide more up-to-the-minute readings of reputation and trends, to help members track in real-time the effectiveness of their actions. 

Competitive Advantage
The unique, third-party verified QueerVadis certification is becoming increasingly important for the tourism industry. 

“It demonstrates compliance with ESG criteria for a wide range of organizations that include B Corps, publicly traded companies, companies seeking investment, or those pursuing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Virgili.

He added: “It should not be underestimated that OTAs, such as, are finally starting to consider only third-party certifications as ‘valid’ for identifying a truly sustainable businesses.”

Growing Membership
Current QueerVadis-accredited/certified members include the UNA Hotels Group, Leonardo Hotels, Italian Tourism Agency (ENIT), Best Western, the Municipality of Milan, and the Municipality of Crema, among others. Leonardo Hotels Central Europe, headquartered in Berlin, is responsible for a hotel portfolio in countries that include Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain and Italy. The portfolio encompasses 84 hotels in 37 regions with more than 14,500 rooms.

About Sonders & Beach
Sonders & Beach, a Benefit Corporation that places social and environmental values on an equal footing with profits, was founded in 2002. It is the first integrated tourism group in Italy, based also in US, that operates throughout the supply chain according to criteria of sustainability and social inclusion. It is committed to creating unique travel experiences, characterized by the freedom of travelers to be themselves within a safe, secure and inclusive environment that respects and values their identify. The group, which includes Sonders & Beach hotel Management, recently opened a new LGBTQ+ Welcoming property in an art nouveau building on the sea, in the city of Santa Marinella, close to Rome (Italy), named Palazzo Moresco; Quiiky Tours, creator of the Untold History Tours (Vatican Museum in a Gay Light; On the Movie Sets of The White Lotus TV Serie); QuiikyMagazine, a print and digital travel and lifestyle magazine with an LGBTQ + theme; Sonders & Beach Academy & Advising, which operates training courses on diversity, revenue and marketing management; and the QueerVadis Certification Program, which is dedicated to the enhancement of diversity and social inclusion. Sonders & Beach is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA), Italian LGBTQ+ Tourism Board, ELTA European LGBTQ+ Travel Alliance. and support Free & Equal program of the United Nations and ECPAT. For more information, visit

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