A vertically integrated tourism group
We work every day to build a Smart, Professional, Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism
Sonders and Beach began in 2002 as a Hotel Facility Management Company founded by Alessio Virgili and Andrea Cosimi, a young Italian couple who shared a love for each other and a passion for the travel and hospitality business. In 2007, Alessio and Andrea tried to find a travel agency who could provide guidance and support in finding the best/safest destinations and accommodations for a travelling gay couple, but there were no openly gay-friendly travel agencies in Italy, and information was scare online. Thus began Quiiky Travel, the first Italian LGBTQ+ Tour Operator.
In 2002 they founded their first company which aims to provide rescue services to bathing establishments of the Lazio coast. In 2004 they opened the headquarters in Milan and they had an intuition: offer outsourcing services to the accommodation facilities. So that’s how “Outsourcing & Facility Management” division was established.
In 2010 Alessio and Andrea founded the Italian Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (AITGL) together with San Francisco Travel, Massachusetts CVB, US Airways and TTG Italia. In the same year Alessio was nominated President of AITGL and the Italian IGLTA Ambassador, positions he still holds today.
In 2011 the couple launched Italy’s first LGBTQ+ Travel & Lifestyle Magazine called “QMagazine” and began collaborating closely with national tourist boards, hotels and travel agencies to help them to reach the LGBTQ+ Market. Famous journalist Alessandro Cecchi Paone is its testimonial.
Today QMagazine is available in both digital and paper version and it is internationally distributed.
In 2012 the couple founded the first Italian LGBTQ+ Travel exposition in Bergamo which was held for over 7 years. The fair then moved in 2018 inside BIT in Milan where it continues to exist.
In 2017 we launched our inbound “Untold History Tours” (featured on New York Times, BBC and Huffington Post), such as “The Vatican Museum Tour in a Gay Light”.
In 2018 Sonders and Beach organized a successful collaboration between the Municipality of Milan, the Italian Tourist Board, and along with the support of the American Consulate in Milan, submitted the winning bid for Milan to host the 2022 IGLTA Global Convention.
In 2021, in collaboration with the Italian Association of LGBTQ+ Tourism (AITGL), we have created the Diversity and Inclusion Protocol validated by the international certification body RINA.
In the first year alone, the Protocol has been adopted by Gruppo UNA Hotels, Leonardo Hotels, Municipality of Milan, Municipality of Crema, ENIT – the National Agency of Tourism and and many others.