On 17th April 1952, the Executive Committee of the Association Internationale des Skål Clubs (A.I.S.C.) approved the formation of The Skål Club of Singapore which has became the 102nd member of the A.I.S.C.
But, what is Skål? How did it come about? What are its aims and objectives?
Very briefly, in 1932 a group of travel agents from Paris was invited to Scandinavia on what. today would be called an educational or familiarisation tour.
In addition to seeing the sights, visiting hotels and familiarising themselves with the various facilities, the group was introduced to the many varieties of Scandinavian food along with the appropriate liquid refreshments. Their hosts drank toasts to them at each meal, which was followed by the traditional Scandinavian work “Skål!”.
The word “Skål” has several meanings – happinese, good health, friendship, long life.
On their return to Paris, members of the group sent messages of thanks to their hosts signing off with “Skål!”.
A while later, Florimond Volckaert of Wagons-Lits – who was one of the members of the group – called a meeting with the other four; Pierre Soulie of Farman, George Ithier of Exprinter, Jules Mohr of K.L.M. and Hugo Kraft of Swedish Amerika Line, and suggested that they should form a club for members of the tourism industry for the purpose of fostering and promoting friendship and fellowship among such members.
So, on 28th April 1934, the Association Internationale des Skål Clubs (A.I.S.C.) was formed. The sub-title of this Association – Amicale de Professionnels de Tourisme – was later changed to Association de Professionnels de Tourisme, to reflect the changing face of the Association.
Skål is a professional organisation 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 25,000 members in more than 525 Clubs throughout 87 nations. Most activities occur at local levels, 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, hosted by a different country each year. This allows members first-hand observation of the travel and tourism potential around the world.