Skal Blasts Off into Project Future

Skal - Project Future Committee members; some members are not in this image – image courtesy of Skal
Project Future Committee members; some members are not in this image – image courtesy of Skal
Written by Linda Hohnholz

The next generation of tourism leaders is being cultivated by Skal International USA through empowered cooperation between the academic and professional worlds.

Skal USA is excited to announce the launch of Project Future, a groundbreaking initiative unveiled during the recent North American Skal Congress (NASC). This program aims to “connect tourism globally” by forging strong alliances between the educational community and the professional business world. The goal is to create mutually beneficial programs that offer students real-world work experiences and insights as they embark on their careers while providing Skal members with access to a pool of talented and enthusiastic students seeking internships, mentorships, and jobs in the travel and tourism industry.

Skal International, the only professional organization dedicated to promoting global tourism and friendship, unites all sectors of the business world. Founded in Paris in 1934, Skal International continues to thrive with over 12,000 members in 83 countries. Recently, the organization has placed a stronger emphasis on identifying and recruiting bright young hospitality students worldwide to sustain future growth.

The idea for Project Future emerged in 2023 from an alliance between the NY Skal Club and the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. This initiative quickly gained interest from other Skal Clubs, and the committee grew to over 30 Skalleagues from various clubs across the country. Project Future has since become one of five key committees within Skal USA.

Burcin Turkkan, M.B.A., CHE, and past president of Skal USA and Skal International, added: “Additionally, we aim to provide the travel and tourism sector with access to fresh, talented individuals. By fostering these connections, Skal enhances academic learning with practical insights, ensuring students are well-prepared for their professional journeys and equipping the industry with innovative thinkers ready to meet its unique challenges.”

While many Skal Clubs have successfully implemented Young Skal Student programs, there was a need for expansion. Project Future Chair and Past President of the NY Skal Club, Carolyn J. Feimster CMD/CRX, states, “Project Future is a successful way to revitalize this membership category by effectively addressing its challenges and introducing fresh ideas for Clubs to adopt.” One significant achievement was revising the by-laws to allow for seamless membership transitions (assuming certain requirements are met) from Young Skal Student to Young Skal Professional, Active member, and eventually, to retirement. “Our student and young Skal members can now look forward to a lifelong journey, ensuring lifelong networking and friendships. No other travel and tourism organization allows for this easy transition from student to retirement. Plus, we provide networking opportunities, education, events, and more to assist anyone in hospitality throughout their career,” added Feimster.

To ensure all Skal Clubs benefit from Project Future, useful tools have been developed or are in the process of being created. For Clubs interested in on-campus Chapters, there is a detailed Organizational Plan, initially created for the University of Florida, that can be adapted by any Skal Club and educational institution. Additionally, there are rack cards, PowerPoint presentations, website information, and an upcoming Business Plan to help Clubs enhance their existing Young Skal Student membership programs or launch new ones.

Future plans for Project Future include expanding the on-campus program nationwide, with the goal of establishing three Student Chapters by year-end and at least six more in 2025.

Skal International USA is currently the largest National Committee in Skal International, with over 1,420 members and 38 clubs nationwide. For more information about Skal International and membership, please visit

For Skal International USA membership, please write to: [email protected].


About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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