President’s report on the occasion of the SKÅL International UK Annual General Meeting February 25, 2016
Thank you to all the UK Skålleagues who have made the past two years of my Presidency such a pleasure. There are so many positive things going on.
Early in October the wonderful partnership that the London club has with MADE.travel through Skål London member, Jonathon Mountford, saw a number of us representing several of the UK clubs, at the opera, The Barber of Seville. A great night !
Next stop was Torremolinos for the World Congress Oct.28 – Nov.01, 2016. With the change of venue from Kenya to Spain, attendance was down but the UK was well represented by members from Brighton, Sussex & The Channel, Southampton, London, Guernsey and Northern Ireland. The minutes of the AGM (up on the skal.org website) make interesting reading. As President Nigel Pilkington took office, there was definitely a feeling of optimism and looking to the future.
At the Congress, London twinned with Mauritius as the first step towards a partnership on a project titled “Greening of Mauritius”. There has been progress since Spain with the SKÅL brand all over the press coverage and media in Mauritius. Participation by not only the London club, but also Northern Ireland, has given the Mauritius club great encouragement to keep the project going.
No sooner was the Congress over, than World Travel Market opened.
The SKÅL stand was a busy place! Ken Sharp (NI), Paul Hoskins and Sebastian Chacko (London) worked hard at setting up and by opening time on Monday all was good to go. I want to mention here, that all SKÅL members are entitled to entry on the first day as part of the barter arrangement negotiated. We just have to know you want to come and “invite” you. The full benefits of the barter agreement will, I hope, will become clear as we continue to talk to Reed Travel Exhibitions. Working with Jean-Moussa Lucas (London) and Paul Hoskins, we are crafting a proposal to RTE on a global basis on behalf of SKÅL International. Look forward to WTM 2016.
For the first time SKÅL participated in the “Future You” Conference organised by ITT. It was extremely well attended (over 400 hospitality students and young professionals) and a big thank you to Ken Sharp for acting as our spokesman giving the attendees an idea of what SKÅL can do and mean to their careers in tourism & travel. We learned from this and hope to build on it for 2016 and beyond.
I attended the Brighton Presidents Night on Nov.14 at the lovely Cooden Beach Hotel. Thank you President Eric. It was great to feel a real sense of amicale and, with guests Ann Lootens and Anni Degraeve from the Bruges club, we had a superb night.
The following weekend I was at the Marwell Hotel near Winchester for the Southampton Presidents Night. It was great fun although John Bright’s jokes are not improving! Thank you President Dieter.
Dec.4 I had a great time, as always, enjoying the warm hospitality of the NornIron club. I stayed at Ken Sharp’s boutique hotel, The Salty Dog in Bangor. What a wonderful spot. Thank you Ken and thank you Mark Langham for your President’s Lunch although I am starting to think there is something dodgy going on with the Raffle ! Lydia won how many ???
London’s Christmas lunch on Dec.9 was good fun at Villandry. The next day, after flying the SKÅL flag at the ITT Christmas reception at the Speaker’s House, on my way to Guernsey, I fell and spent the next 24 hours under observation in East Surrey Hospital with a suspected fractured hip. It wasn’t, but it slowed me down and over the next few weeks I developed a pretty impressive bruise. I did make it to Victoria, BC and my daughter for Christmas, and back, but sitting for too long is still painful.
Into 2016 and lots to look forward to.
I am making some changes and in April will be transferring my SI London membership to SI Victoria, BC, Canada.
Thank you all. It has been my absolute honour to be your President.
Alison Partridge 25 February 2016