Members of Skål International from around the world gathered in Miami this week for the 80th Annual Skål International World Congress. A warm welcome was extended to 500 Skålleagues and their family and friends from around the world by the local Miami Club. Skål International Miami, founded in 1950, is a diverse Skål Club with vibrant cultures and the title Cruise Capital of the World, many international tourist boards and hospitality companies call Miami home.
The 2019 Skål World Congress is being held on the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas Cruise Ship. The Congress which runs from 14-21 September 2019 will provide its delegates with opportunities for building business relationships and friendships and opportunities to share ideas and business practices with fellow Skålleagues in both formal and informal business sessions.
In her opening address, SkålInternacional President Lavonne Wittman said, “ I am so proud of being a member of the largest travel and tourism industry in the world and the only one that represents every sector of our industry. “I have shared my presidential theme throughout this year in my messages and there is no ideal time than now to reaffirm this message!
STRENGTH THROUGH COLLABORATION
“This is Skal’s unique selling point, this is our strength and this will be the deciding factor that will make us stand out in the crowd, that will make us attractive to our industry, that will bond us together like no other organization in history.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome my Executive Committee Peter, Teresa, Fiona (not present), Bill, and Vijay along with Marja ISC President, CEO Daniela Otero, our Past Presidents, and the LOC of Miami.
“I welcome also the ISC Board, Councillors, National Presidents, Club Presidents, members, and guests, it has been an incredible honor to be your World President this year.”
Anurak Community Lodge in southern Thailand has won the global 2019 SKAL Sustainable Tourism Award in the rural accommodation category.
The award was presented during the opening ceremony of the 80th SKAL World Congress on 15 September. The 20-key Anurak Community Lodge which opened in 2016 is situated in a forest setting on the edge of Khao Sok National Park. Willem Niemeijer, the CEO of YAANA Ventures which conceived, built and runs Anurak Community Lodge, said: “The award comes at a time when Anurak is working with our guests and Thailand’s Forest Restoration and Research Unit from Chiang Mai University on our ‘Rainforest Rising’ project. Our aim is to return a plantation of palm oil trees beside the lodge to full indigenous rainforest cover.”
Since its opening, Anurak has been guided by an ethos of reduce, reuse and recycle. Guests and staff are encouraged to save energy and water, while single-use plastic, styrofoam and cardboard plates are banned.