Terror, tourism and SKAL by Nigel Pilkington, president of SKAL international


SKAL is about doing business with friends and about friendship between leaders in the travel and tourism industry. It’s the largest and oldest travel association in the world.

Another attack on this industry was registered in Brussels this week. Nigel Pilkington, the president of SKAL International, posted this message on the SKAL International Facebook page. Nigel is from Auckland, New Zealand.

He is asking: When will the terror stop?
When will they understand we will not be afraid?
And what can we as Skål do?

It is saddening and sickening to wake up to another day and learn of another brutal attack on defenseless civilians – this time in Brussels, Belgium and just days after the cowardly attack in Istanbul, Turkey, a country that is still reeling from multiple attacks in Ankara and Suruc.

The attacks in Sousse , Tunisia, and on the Ivory Coast and the continuous killings in West Africa, and of course the attacks in Paris,and now Brussels just keep happening one after sickening another.

While our hearts cry and our minds go numb with sorrow for the victims and their families there is also a growing steeliness and resolve that is appearing, especially across Europe and Asia Minor, that these murderers will not defeat the democracies they are attacking and in fact they are seeing the peoples draw closer together and become more determined than ever to not allow these senseless and horrific acts change the way they go about their lives.

When will the perpetrators understand that their tactic of causing death, maiming and senseless destruction will not work? How can these people justify, on any level, attacks on countries that are doing everything they can to assist and make welcome millions of refugees from the very region they plan and launch these attacks?

The only true way to effect change is by mutual dialogue, mutual trust and agreed outcomes – not by the bullet and the bomb – history has proven time and time again that these tactics over time do not work. The only way to peace and peaceful coexistence is through building bridges, not destroying them.

And what can we do? Like all people we feel powerless and angry and implore our governments to keep us safe, in some cases by allowing them to introduce tighter and tighter controls on personal freedoms. But whatever we do we must stand together – stand tall and as one voice tell these murderers we are not going to allow them to destroy our democracy or way of life. It may take time and regretfully more horror and death, but these people will eventually get the message.

And what can we, as Skalleagues, do? Firstly continue to lead by example and show the world how an 82 year old organization, based on friendship and mutual respect and understanding, can thrive amongst all the horror.

An organization that has every cred, race and gender in it ranks and how they work together in friendship to make their world – the world of travel and tourism – a better place. An organization that welcomes members into its ranks from diverse and in some cases very divergent countries, yet shows respect and tolerance for each others point of view. An organization that wants to grow into regions that are experiencing the first blush of democracy so we can help their fledging travel and tourism industry grow and prosper.

We need to be proud of the way we work together and not be afraid to make it clear to all in the industry as well as our clients what it is we stand for.

So I say to all our Skal Family – let us stand with the people of Turkey, France, Belgium, Tunisia, Ivory Coast etc, and while we mourn with them, reassure them that we will do what we can to help make the world a safer, happier and more tolerant place. As they saying goes – planets like ours are very hard to find, so let’s look after the one we have.