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Skål International secretary general dies

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(eTN) – The Skål International secretary general, Mr. Jim Power, has died, according to sources close to him.

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(eTN) – The Skål International secretary general, Mr. Jim Power, has died, according to sources close to him. The tourism luminary is said to have died in his sleep at his home in Torremolinos, Spain, on Saturday, June 12, 2010.

The news comes as shock to many travel and tourism stakeholders as the late Mr. Power is one of the industry’s highly-regarded individuals. He was frequently seen in many industry events such as the ITB in Berlin and World Travel Market in London, as well as many of Skål events held in many parts of the world.

The late Mr. Power was recently in Frankfurt, Germany, for the IMEX where he had a conversation with eTN publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz. “I am really shocked and saddened at the same time upon learning of Jim’s death,” Steinmetz said. “He was a close friend to many and regarded with the utmost respect by the rest of the industry for his many contributions.”

The eTN publisher and member of the Duesseldorf, German SKAL club added: “I am at loss for words. I just met Jim during IMEX in Frankfurt and attended the SKAL dinner with him. I am a member of the UNWTO Task Force against sexual exploitation of children, and Jim was a big supporter for ECPAT, speaking out against sexual exploitation of children through tourism. He attended every UNWTO Task Group meeting in Berlin for many years.”

ECPAT is a global network of organizations and individuals working together to eliminate child prostitution, child pornography, and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.

The late Mr. Power was recently in Sydney on June 9, 2010 to attend the golden anniversary luncheon of Skål International. The event was held at Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour to commemorate 50 years since the club was first founded. One-hundred-sixty Skålleagues and their guests participated in the celebrations.

Sources say that he had become ill after his return from Sydney and had called in sick on Thursday. His staff did not hear from him for the remainder of the week, so they decided to check on him on Saturday when he was found dead.

According to Steinmetz, as a SKAL member, Jim was always the focus point for all 20,000 global SKAL members. “A good friend and partner, eTN is proud to be a strategic partner with SKAL for many years, and all of this is thanks to Jim Power. He will be missed.”

“Jim did a fantastic job molding together the disparate individuals, nationalities, and characters who make up the worldwide travel friendship organization that is Skål,” Steinmetz said. “That he does so with constant patience and good humor, speaks much for his own personality and strength of character.”

Born on June 23, 1949, the late Mr. Power attended Bridgetown College from 1962 to 1965. He was never married and had no children.

Skål is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches 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 20,000 members in 480 clubs throughout 89 nations. Most activities occur at the 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 of seven members, elected by delegates to an annual general assembly, held during the World Congress, which is hosted by a different country each year. This allows members first-hand observation of the travel and tourism potential around the world.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.