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Ramla Bay on the island of GozoJune is Pride Month in many countries worldwide, and the last week of the month sees the culmination of celebrations highlighting the contributions of the LGBTQI+ communities to national cultures worldwide.  It is, therefore, an excellent time to recognise the importance of gay-owned and -operated entities in the travel industry, an economic sector that earns billions of dollars each year thanks to the expenditure of LGBTQI+ travellers as well as their friends and families.  Whether discreetly behind the scenes or out and proud, the contributions of LGBTQI+ business owners, managers, and employees to the ongoing growth of the global tourism industry are beyond measure.

Artúr Lengyel, founder of Q Travel Malta

Artúr Lengyel, founder of Q Travel Malta.

An example of marketing success combined with personal satisfaction is Q Travel Malta, the brainchild of the dynamic Artúr Lengyel, one of Malta’s most instrumental voices in advancing the country at the forefront of LGBTQI+ tourism.  Q Travel Malta’s leader is also a leading academic authority on LGBTQI+ history. However, don’t think for a minute that he is a buttoned-up introvert; on the contrary, Artúr is delightful company.  As effervescent as he is knowledgeable, Artúr’s unwavering commitment to increasing awareness of LGBTQI+ culture in Malta and its value to Malta’s tourism sector saw the annual EuroPride festival celebrated last year in Malta for the first time.  Building on that success, Malta will host its first international LGBTQI+ tennis tournament in the last week of September.

In addition to running a thriving business and maintaining his academic interests, Artúr is the president of the Malta LGBTIQ+ Sports Association (MLSA), which will be hosting Malta’s first-ever LGBTIQ+ tennis tournament in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA), a nonprofit organisation headed by its Australian president, Rowen D’Souza.  On 27-29 September, LGBTIQ+ tennis players and supporters worldwide will converge on Malta’s Marsa Sports Club to compete against rivals on this lovely Mediterranean island for the first time.

Valletta Pride march.

Valletta Pride march.

Artúr is not the only one working to make Malta a go-to destination for LGBTQI+ travellers.  The country’s very active government tourism body, Malta Tourism Authority, is following up on its strong advocacy for last year’s EuroPride Valletta, with more love for LGBTIQ+ tourism by supporting the tennis tournament.  The Malta Tourism Authority has worked tirelessly to support this tourism segment, showcasing Malta as an LGBTQI+ destination at international trade fairs and providing helpful information to all travellers on its informative Visit Malta website.

Another prominent supporter of Malta’s LGBTQI+ tourism sector is The Phoenicia Malta, the country’s most revered hotel.  With its reputation for maintaining tradition while bringing it into the modern era, it would be forgiven if one assumed the hotel’s regard for the LGBTQI+ market was likewise linked to the past.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however.  Under the astute leadership of Australian general manager Robyn Pratt, The Phoenicia Malta has indeed maintained the classic aspects of grand hotels while at the same time embracing open-minded attitudes in reflection of contemporary Maltese society in general, one of the most progressive in the world concerning LGBTQI+ policies.




Written by: Robert La Bua – Global Travel Connoisseur