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To be or not to be? For SKAL International the future starts tomorrow

SKAL ITB

SKAL’s upcoming extraordinary General Assembly may very well shape the futue of the organization to become relevant and inclusive for all.

Tomorrow, is a big day for SKAL International and the global travel and tourism industry.

After SKAL just celebrated its 90th birthday with a bang in Paris, this organization may become a trendsetter for the future of the global travel and tourism industry with its 12,000+ members in 84 countries. SKAL is a travel and tourism industry organization of individual local clubs with tourism leaders in cities around the planet.

Tomorrow SKAL members around the globe are invited to participate virtually in an upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the organization. It is scheduled for July 9 at 3.00 pm CET, 9.00 am EST, and 6.00 pm Singapore time.

This extraordinary general assembly is very much extraordinary. It may put SKAL on the path to a new and hopefully bright future, so it can maintain its standing as one of the most important global leaders in the tourism sector.

After tomorrow’s discussion, a vote on the proposed changes is forthcoming over the next 3 days.

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This general assembly is poised to shape the future of the global travel and tourism industry. The agenda is complex, and for some confusing. The intentions are good, and the excitement to witness an adjustment and some say turnaround of this organization is great. Unfortunately, the controversy for a yes and a no camp may derail the good work done to get this extraordinary session off the ground.

While there are no big changes in how individual and local SKAL clubs operate, proposed changes for SKAL International in its global structures are impressive.

Discussions about the proposed changes had been heated at times.

Canadian SKAL Director Denis Smith urged members to focus on launching this new model with the very best people leading this organization. That should be the only goal that we all strive for.

He applauded the hard work done by the SKAL Governance Committee spending many hours looking at SKAL’s history, and the pitfall of the current two-tier structure.

The committee retained a consultant to look at other international organizations operating structures. The conclusion was, that a single board of directors was the best solution for an organization by the size and structure of SKAL International.

Therefore the key decision in this upcoming general assembly is the question of a single Executive Board with 15 instead of 6 members.

Currently, there is also an International SKAL council, but members have no voting rights, leaving the 6-member board in the hands of the same leaders, clubs, or countries, giving little room for a more diverse representation of members.

A German SKAL member thinks everyone can agree that it was necessary to adjust the structure within SKAL to modern times.
The goal must be for SKAL clubs to be empowered to gain members. The member was concerned this was not mentioned in the new Governance concept.

Those supporting the proposed concept disagree and think changes proposed don’t touch the local clubs much, but offer adjustments on the global level of the organization

To put is in short terms: The new proposed structure is to expand the board from currently 6 to 14 members, eliminating the currently non-voting international SKAL council.

The new structure would assure a more fair and broader representation. In the last 20-30 years, the same members or club representatives had often been sitting in a leading position, giving many clubs and regions hardly any realistic chance to get involved on a global level.

Many senior SKAL members are retired from their previous job, under which they were able to join the organization in the first place.

With 14 voting SKAL members from all SKAL regions, the representation by the new proposed board would be more inclusive, more open to all, and encourage other members to get involved and become part of the global leadership program.

The process would become a more democratic one. The organization would become more attractive and open to new potential members, or clubs.

The chance for board members to make SKAL a career for themselves would become more difficult.

Attracting young people to SKAL is essential for the future. New young members don’t want to wait until they retire to make a difference in the global opportunities to a global organization can open.

A two-thirds majority is needed to implement such urgently needed changes. A positive decision would take less selfish thinking by some SKAL leaders.

The new SKAL president Burcin Turkkan must be applauded for creating some “civil disobedience”, but hopefully, the future SKAL generations will thank her for her vision and speedy approach to initiating changes.

One European member asked eTurboNews: “What is the rush? “

eTurboNews publisher Juergen Steinmetz, a SKAL member himself said: “Now or perhaps never. The time has come for SKAL to get to the next phase, so future SKAL generations can take a spacecraft to Paris and celebrate 200 years of SKAL in 2132.

For all of us, SKAL is an organization with a sole, good old and new memories, and a lot of fun. Let’s not make this organization political, but sustainable. Let us add a promising future to this and remember our toast to fellow Skalleagues everywhere:

  • HAPPINESS!
  • GOOD HEALTH!
  • FRIENDSHIP!
  • LONG LIFE!
  • SKÅL!

About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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Lori Gédon CTC

Perhaps, in an effort to improve membership, the focus should be on retaining current/former members. Speaking from experience, I was a SKAL member of the NJ chapter. When I moved to NYS 13 years ago, I tried on numerous occasions to join the chapter in my new area. No response from the chapter contact here. Quite frankly, I thought the organization was no longer in operation.

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