Skal International Sydney Newsletter

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Don't forget - book now for our Christmas Luncheon on Wed 9th December at the Four Seasons!

  From the President's Desk...

As we get close to the end of another year, I am sure you are all as busy as I am with work, family, friends and all the little bits and pieces that we find on our to-do lists as Christmas approaches. 

I have recently returned from Spain and the Skal International World Congress, along with Bob Lunnon, Max Kingston and Sue Francis. It was great to see the coming together of so many clubs from around the world and we had the opportunity to catch up with Skalleagues and friends from far and near. There is more information on the outcomes of this important meeting later in the newsletter.

The World Congress also saw the twinning ceremony for our club with Buenos Aires, the culmination of some months of work and collaboration with our new twin club. We look forward to building an even closer relationship with our Skalleagues from Buenos Aires in the future. 

As we approach the end of the year, its time to start planning for 2016 and I urge members to have a think about whether they would like to commit themselves to being a member of the Skal International Sydney Committee for the upcoming year. Nomination forms will be out in the next little while, so keep an eye out. 

Membership renewals will also be distributed shortly, so please ensure that you get these returned as part of your end of year activities - and don't forget to be on the look out for prospective new members as well.
Finally, don't forget to book for our fabulous Christmas luncheon on Wed 9th December at the Four Seasons. Detail are below in this newsletter, but it will be a wonderful event and a great way to end the year and raise funds for a very important cause - the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Until next month, Skal!

President Verniece Irvine. 

The Twinning Certificate is presented at the Skal International World Congress to representatives of  both clubs to mark the twinning of Skal International Sydney and Skal International Buenos Aires.


Join us on Wednesday 9th December at the Four Seasons Sydney to celebrate Christmas.

We have a fabulous afternoon of entertainment and fun lined up, including a fantastic raffle, to benefit the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, the 2015 Skal International Sydney charity. Prizes include a trip to Fiji, accommodation, dining vouchers and more - definitely something that will bring a smile to every winner's face.

Gail O'Brien will be present to tell us more about the wonderful work that Chris O'Brien Lifehouse is doing to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, carers and their families by advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of the disease.

We also have some fabulous entertainment lined up for you this year, along with the chance to catch up with Skalleagues and travel industry friends and celebrate the year that has been.

Tickets are $109 per person which includes a 3 course lunch and drinks. Or why not invite some colleagues, clients or friends and buy a table of ten for $999, which includes 10 tickets in the raffle.

Wednesday 9th December - 12 noon - 3.00pm.

Book early to avoid disappointment. We hope to see you there!


Book now for the Christmas Luncheon!

Skal Clubs of Sydney Joint Luncheon - November 2015

The November meeting at the Hilton Sydney again saw the combined Skal Clubs of Sydney come together. Our guest speaker was Brett Jardine, Commercial Director of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, who provided an update on CLIA's activities and the state of the Australian cruise industry, which it must be said, is booming.

Brett told us that Australia ranks 4th in the world in terms of source markets for cruising and 1st in terms of population penetration at 4.2% - the next closest is North America at 3.2%. In addition, the market growth is astonishing. In 2003, only three ships were based in Australia - in 2016, 21 ships will make home port in Australia during our cruising season. 67% of Australian passengers cruise from Australian ports and travel agents remain the primary distribution channel. And finally, don't think this is all about the wide open seas - in 2014, there were around 80,000 Australian passengers who took river cruises, which looks to be another growth market for the future. Again, thanks to Brett for a really interesting and informative presentation.

Skal International Sydney also inducted a new member - Ben Allen from Hotel Beds being presented with his membership certificate by President Verniece. Welcome Ben!

And the Twinning Certificate that was presented to Skal International Sydney and Skal International Buenos Aires at the recent World Conrgess was presented to members by President Verniece.

It was a terrific meeting, as always, at the Hilton and we thank the Hilton team and General Manager Ronald van Weezel for hosting us.

 New Skal International Sydney member, Ben Allen, is presented with his certificate.

The Twinning Certificate which was awarded at the World Congress was
presented to members of Skal International Sydney.

President Verniece with Hilton General Manager, Ronald van Weezel.

All ears to hear from guest speaker Brett Jardine.
76th Skal International World Congress - Torremolinos, Spain
28 October - 1 November 2015

The 76th World Congress, held in Torremolinos, Spain, was a very successful and enjoyable event.

A new Executive Committee (pictured below) was elected:
President - Nigel Pilkington - Auckland, New Zealand
Vice- President - David Fisher - Nairobi, Kenya
Vice-President - Susanna Saari - Turku, Finland
Director - Rafael Millan Perez - Mexico City, Mexico
Director - Lavonne Wittmann - Cape Winelands, South Africa
Director - Jason Samuel - Bombay, India

Bernard Whewell, from Skal International Canberra, was also elected President of the Skal International Council. The Australian delegate to this Committee, is Skal International Sydney member, Bob Lunnon.

Skal Club of the Year was awarded to Skal International Hobart. This is a very prestigious award - selected from among the 382 clubs worldwide and has some strict entry criteria to meet, in order to be in the running. So a huge congratulations to our Hobart Skalleagues. If you would like to see their entry video (highly recommend you do), click here.

And Skal International Sydney North member Quarantine Station won the 2015 Skal International Sustainable Tourism Award in the category of Major Tourist Attraction. These awards, sponsored by Diversey Care, highlight best practice in tourism around the world. Congratulations are again in order to Q Station! 

There was also plenty of time to enjoy some fabulous Spanish food and hospitality, and to network with Skalleagues from other clubs. The next Skal World Congress will be held in late October 2016 in Monaco - start planning now!

The new Skal International Executive Committee (L-R): Jason Samuel, Rafael Millan Perez, David Fisher, Nigel Pilkington, Susanna Saari, Lavonne Wittmann and President of the International Council, Bernard Whewell.

Alfred Merse, President of Skal International Hobart accepts the award for Skal Club of the Year 2015.

John Spencer, President of Skal International Sydney North accepts the Diversey Sustainable Tourism Award on behalf of Quarantine Station.

Meet a Skal Sydney Member - Rebecca Fleming

Each month we will be looking to profile one of our Skal International Sydney members and find out a bit more about them and what makes them tick. If you would like to be involved, please contact Committee Member Tara Strickland on

Rebecca FlemingRebecca Fleming
Manager - Travel Industry Division
Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers

How long have you been a Skal Member? 
Three years.
Which clubs have you been a member of?
What’s the best thing about being a member of Skal? 
Meeting people from all parts of the travel industry.
Why are you a member? What is the benefit of Skal membership for you?
The wealth of industry experience and the wonderful people involved.
What is the biggest challenge facing the travel and tourism industry right now?
Adapting to the changing world of technology and encouraging young people to join the industry.
What has been your favourite holiday destination so far? 
Hong Kong.
Where would you like to go next?
(*Editor's Note: what was wrong with the Skal World Congress as an excuse to go there? Another chance for Skal to help you achieve your dreams!)
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?
As long as you are still breathing, things can get better!
What do you like about working at SSA?
It allows me the freedom to specialise in an industry I love.
What are the challenges?
The travel industry is a fast paced and constantly changing beast - nothing stays still for long.
How do you relax outside of work?
Sorry, I don't understand the question? No, just kidding, I spend time with my two young boys.
What would you do if you weren't in the travel industry?
Be a writer.
What’s your favourite Skal moment?
The Christmas party where Skalleague Jacques Lionnet's band The Blues Convicts performed. 
Copyright © 2015 Skal International Sydney, All rights reserved.

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Skal International Sydney
PO Box 3291
Putney, NSW 2112

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