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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

52nd Skål Asia Congress Opens In Bali

Skal AsiaThe first face-to-face Skål Asia Congress since the pandemic opened today to a fanfare welcome to Asia Skålleagues from more than a dozen countries that make up this dynamic Skål International region. Once again highlighting the association’s strong bonds of friendship and camaraderie in the association’s long 91-year-old history. The Asia Area represents almost 18% of all global members worldwide.

Attend by Skål World President Juan Steta, Vice President Denise Scrafton and Director NSN Mohan, Past World President Peter Morrison and National Presidents and their representatives from five NatComs in the region. The largest was Australia, with a strong turnout from their 855 members led by President Ivana Patalano.

The Bali Club, under the leadership of President Stefan Mueller and IPP Stuart Bolwell, put on a well-managed and highly organised opening ceremony today on the first day of the Congress on the Island of the Gods. The venue was the magnificent Merusaka Hotel Nusa Dua, led by expert Scottish GM Ian Mc.D Campbell.

Skål Asia President-elect Keethi Jayaweera
Skål Asia President-elect Keethi Jayaweera

In his opening address Skål Asia President-elect Keethi Jayaweera said, “On behalf of the Asian Area, it is my great honour to welcome all of you to the opening ceremony of the 52nd Skål Asia Congress. It was nearly nine years ago when we last met in Bali for the 43rd Asian Area Congress.

“As we gather here today, we are reminded of the importance of the tourism industry in shaping our world. Tourism Is not just about leisure and travel but also about creating opportunities for economic growth, cultural exchange and environmental sustainability.

“In the past few years, we have faced unprecedented challenges in the tourism industry, including climate change, over-tourism and the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully tourism is once again showing signs of recovering to its pre-covid levels.

“As members of Skål International, we have a responsibility to lead the way in its recovery, keeping in mind our obligation to promote sustainable tourism practices. We must work together to ensure that tourism benefits the Industry, the local communities, and the environment.

“We have today a distinguished line-up of speakers who will share their thoughts, insights and experiences on sustainable tourism, technology and food security.

“But this Congress is not just about learning and sharing. It is also about networking and building relationships. We have delegates from all over Asia and Oceania, representing different sectors of the tourism industry. Let us take this opportunity to connect with each other, keeping to the Skål motto of “Doing Business among Friends”, to exchange ideas and to collaborate on projects that will make a positive impact on our world.”

“I would like to express my gratitude to our speakers today, the host club, Skål International Bali and President Stefan Mueller, the Congress Director Stuart Bolwell and the organising Committee, Ian Cameron, the General Manager of the Merusaka Nusa Dua and his team who were very accommodating with all our requests, the sponsors and partners who have made this Congress possible. Finally, I would also like to thank all of you, fellow Skålleagues from Asia and Oceania, for participating and contributing to this important event.

Mr Keethi Jayaweera closed, saying, “Let us make the most of this Congress and let us work together to make tourism a catalyst for sustainable development.”




Written by: Andrew Wood







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