Skal World Congress 2008 in October
A thousand of the world’s top tourism professionals will converge on Taipei in October this year for the 69th World Congress of Skal International. While here they will learn about Taiwan’s tourism attractions, network with each other, establish business contacts, attend business-to-business sessions and tourism workshops, and generally enjoy a good time with old friends and new.
Skal International is the world’s biggest association of tourism and travel professionals that covers all sectors of the tourism industry, with over 20,000 members of around 500 clubs in 90 different countries. Membership is open to managers and executives who are directly involved in management, sales, and promotion in specified tourism businesses including hotels, travel agencies, airlines, government tourist offices, professional congress organizers, travel media, cruise lines, and car rental firms, among others. In Taiwan there are three clubs: Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. Plans are under way for a fourth club in Hualien on the island’s east coast.
The theme of this year’s World Congress, which will be held at the Taipei International Convention Center on Oct. 12-17, will be “Friendship and Peace through Tourism.” Taipei began campaigning for the right to host the event back in 2003, and won the bid at the 65th World Congress in Durban, South Africa, in 2004. The initial idea for Taipei to seek the congress came from Skal International Honorary President Salvador Buendia, who passed through Taipei on his way to the Skal World Congress in Cairns, Australia, and was so impressed with the city that he urged local Skal members to bid.
The first Skal Club was founded by travel agents from Paris, who participated together in a trip to Scandinavia in 1932 and enjoyed it so much that they decided to continue meeting on a regular basis after they returned home. Their association began to branch out and sprout other chapters, and Skal went international in 1934.
Skal International Taipei was founded as the first Skal Club in Taiwan in 1970 and now has about 70 members. It is currently headed by President Pauline Leung, CEO of Compass Public Relations and Taiwan representative of the Macau Government Tourist Office (as well as chairman of the organizing committee of the World Congress). Among its members the club counts Madam Janice Seh-Jen Lai, director general of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.
The success of the 69th World Congress of Skal International is being assured by generous support from such sponsors as the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Taiwan Visitors Association, Commerce Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taipei City Government, China Airlines, EVA Airways, Grand Hyatt Taipei, Sheraton Taipei, Grand Hotel Taipei, Howard Plaza Taipei and National Taiwan College of Performing Arts.
Mr. Jim Power, Secretary General of Skal International, was very impressed by the press conference that Skal International Taipei organized on May 27th at the Tourism Bureau's Travel Information Service Center. "This is so far the best press conference we have ever had," he said. Mr. Steven Kuo Su, Duputy Director General of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, said "We will do our best to support Skal and make this 69th World Congress a most successful and memorable one for Skalleagues from all over the world."
Mr. Kuo Su was a Skalleague some time ago, and he offered his full support: "Even if you need me to some legwork during the World Congress, I will be more than willing to do it for you!" He also promised to become a member of Skal once again.
Pauline Leung, President of Skal Iuternational Taipei, asked the media representatives to help make this Skal World Congress a truly meaningful one. "Taiwan may not be so well-known to the whole world, especailly people in Europe or Latin America; but through Skal, through this World Congress, we will have travel professionals coming from 90 different countries to stay in Taipei 6 days and 5 nights. They will also have a chance to take pre and post tours to get to know Taiwan; and after this World Congress in Taipei, they will all become super sales promoters for Taiwan as a tourist destination."
Edward Lo, President of Skal International Taiwan, mentioned the "long history" of Skal Taipei's campaign for the right to host the World Congress Taiwan." 'Friendship and Peace through tourism'" is our theme," he commented, "and we Skalleagues like to make friends and make good business among friends."
Skal Asia President Earl Wieman commented, in fluent Mandarin, that "Hosting the Skal World Congress in Taipei will make Taipei known to the whole world and let Skalleagues discover that here we have the most delicious Chinese cuisine, the most beautiful landscapes, fine international class hotels and hot spring resorts--and more than this, real TOUCH YOUR HEART hospitality!" Earl was wearing the Skal 2008 "uniform" along with Carol Huang, Assistant to the Skal Taipei Secretary, a shining blue silk jacket with a colorful floral design of Taiwan's Hakka ethnic group. All members of the Skal Taipei HOC Committee will wear this creative jacket during the Congress for easy identification.
A special focus for the camera lenses were four students from the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts, all dressed up in Chinese opera costume and with fantastic painted faces. They delighted the press conference participants by posing with them for memorable photographs that presage an unforgettable Skal International World Congress in Taipei.
Taiwan Touch Your Heart http://taiwan.net.tw/
Skål International Official Site http://www.skal.org/
Skål World Congress 2008 http://www.skaltaipei.org.tw/