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Saturday, May 18, 2024

It has never been a more important time to be a member of Skål International

As Membre d’Honneur and Vice President Thailand, Andrew Wood recently said:

“To cancel one’s Skål membership is myopic, just plain short sighted and my experience shows that as in the past with SARS, H1N1, Bird Flu etc, it is better to be within the Skål circle than outside, especially in times of crisis.”

Yes Skålleagues, we do have crises happening around us – the two that are really affecting us are Coronavirus and the Australian bushfires.
I wish to say to the citizens of Australia and China who have been devastated by the fury of nature – we do understand the tremendous hardship that you are suffering. Our members across the world stand in solidarity with you.
We at Skål International certainly hope that you will get respite soon and I sincerely request our members worldwide to be aware of what they can do to help these countries. Of course this is also affecting our excellent Skål clubs in Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan (Chinese Taipei).
How can we help

Please note that most of Australia is unaffected by the bush fires so please support their Tourism markets. The recent Tourism figures show a drop of Aust $1 Billion which is devastating. They need our worldwide support.

The Coronavirus has now given us another hurdle for World Tourism in 2020. This is a challenging time for everyone, none more so that visitors from China or those who have travelled through China recently.
I encourage every member of Skål to show the kindness, compassion and as we say in New Zealand “Manaakitanga” that we as Skålleagues are famous for and go the extra mile to support our guests during their travels around the world.

Please remember that how we ‘treat’ the Chinese now will be remembered for their future travels. We must treat the process of any cancellations with understanding and offer our sincere welcome for future travel set us as Skålleagues apart and help us secure future business.

It is essential that Chinese visitors in your own countries are being treated well and are receiving suitable support to return home if they have had to change their travel arrangements.


We as Skål International members need to work hard to keep travel top of mind for people still. We should continue to target high-value visitors. During a time of arrivals slowdown, it is a good time for each of you to take stock of your business, and really get to know the markets you are or could be targeting.

I also cannot stress enough the importance of having a strong digital presence across platforms so potential visitors know about your business, can find it and book your product.

You as Skålleagues should also be working closely with your National and Regional Tourism organisations and leverage off them. Many National Tourism Organisations are constantly updating the industry and it is important that you all stay informed.

Tourism is one of the world’s top export earners supporting many of our communities, providing one in every seven jobs and helping to enrich our lives – it is important we as Skålleagues all work hard to keep it that way.

You as members should not be thinking of saving a few Euros/Dollars by not renewing your membership. You should be staying as members so you can partake of all the ways we as Skål International can communicate to 15,000+ members. If you are a tour operator/wholesalers connect with fellow hotels and product and if you are a commissonable hotel/product contact wholesalers and travel agents and offer to work with them. We as Skålleagues need to look after each other.

There are good networking opportunities comingup with ‘Regional/National Congresses’ coming up in Winnipeg, Phuket, Australia and Europe.

The World Congress 2020 is in Croatia in October
There is an opportunity to list product and touring offerings on our website: for members to use your products at very special prices and NO commission – this is an under-used facility and one that I will be discussing at the International Skål Council Meeting in Spain in April 2020.

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