About Skal ?

Skål International is a professional organisation of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship.  It is the only international organisation embracing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. Its members, the industry's managers and executives, meet at local, national, regional and international levels to discuss and pursue topics of common interest.

The first Club was founded in 1932 in Paris by travel managers, following an educational tour of Scandinavia. The idea of international goodwill and friendship grew and, in 1934, the “Association Internationale des Skål Clubs” was formed with Florimond Volckaert as its first President, who is considered the “Father of Skål!

Skål International today has approximately 16678 members in 399 Clubs throughout 87 nations. Most activities occur at local level, moving up through National Committees, under the umbrella of Skål International, headquartered at the General Secretariat in Torremolinos, Spain.

Skål International is governed by an Executive Committee, elected by delegates to an annual General Assembly, held during the World Congress, hosted by a different country each year. This allows members first-hand observation of the travel and tourism potential around the world.

Membership of Skål is open to managers or executives directly involved in tourism management, sales and promotions, in specified travel and tourism businesses, including: transportation (airlines, cruise lines, railways, ferries), travel and tour operators and agencies, tourism organisations, governments and non-government tourism councils, hotels convention centres, travel media, etc. 

Young Skål is open to junior executives and tourism students entering the industry.

The international friendship and close personal contact of Skål must be experienced to be appreciated.

“Doing Business among friends”. Skål is not a community organisation like Rotary or Lions, rather it benefits and develops the professional sector, while assisting the community at large. Skål is an Association of Tourism Professionals which encourages and creates a network of professionals around the world. It promotes seminars and conferences to strengthen the industry's professionalism.

Through participation in local activities and events at all levels, members meet industry colleagues from around the world. Here, in an atmosphere of amicale, ideas, opportunities and industry matters, in general, may be shared on a personal and business level.

Skål is totally non-political and encourages advancement and evolution through affiliation with other international industry organisations such as the World Tourism Organisation.  Skål does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, race, religion, politics or social standing.  Skål supports charitable causes.  The Florimond Volckaert Benevolent fund assists any Skål member in times of financial need or crisis.  Prestigious sustainable EcoTourism awards are awarded by Skål each year, judged by experts in this field and from varying stringent categories. These awards are recognised world wide. South Africa has been awarded several times since 2002.

Skål International aims at quality and supports sustainable development and responsible tourism.  It is an Affiliate member of the World Tourism Organisation Business Council.  One of those missions is to promote ethics in business, particularly the Global Code of Ethics issued by the World Tourism Organisation, which covers peace, the environment, security, pollution, human contacts and respect for local cultures.  Skål International is also a member of the task force on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in tourism and is one of the sponsors of the Code of Conduct drawn up as a result of this task force.

Since Skål’s formation in 1934 a World Congress is hosted each year by different clubs throughout the world.  The 74th congress in 2013 the Congress was on board a cruise liner from New York back to New York.  The 75th Congress was held in Mexico in October 2014. Three previous world congresses have been held in South Africa – hosted by Skal Johannesburg in 1981, by Skål Cape Town in 1992 and Skål Durban in 2004.  At each of these congresses approximately 1200 delegates and accompanying spouses have participated.   There are seven Skål Clubs in South Africa, these being Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay, Garden Route, Cape Winelands and Cape Town.  Membership country-wide totals 400, Cape Town being the largest with a current membership of 128.

The 76th Congress will be held in Mombasa in October this year.