Skal International Sydney Newsletter
March-April 2016

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Bookings for our 11th May meeting at Parliament House with the NSW Tourism Minister The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP have been extended until noon on Thursday 5th May. 
Click here to book now! 

  From the President's Desk...

Welcome to the first Newsletter from your 2016 Committee.

I am honoured to be your President this year and thank you for the opportunity. I am excited to have such a dedicated and engaging committee. We have a younger contingent with new ideas, contacts and a commitment to build and revive SKAL International Sydney into a thriving industry club.

A dramatic loss of membership (28% from last year with a total membership currently at 59) is what our committee sees as a critical turning point for SKAL International Sydney. Our membership committee, headed by Vice-President Walter, will introduce a plan for the introduction of new, younger active members across the travel and tourism industry in our city. This will not be an instant result but the initiatives will set the foundations for this and future years.

We have been challenged by budget reductions due to significant losses over the last 3 years and as a consequence we have reduced the involvement of the Secretariat. Committee members have taken on most of these duties, as well as engaging in an automated event booking system, called ‘Try Booking’. This is quite a transition and it will take place over the next couple of months. Those of you who have already booked for our upcoming lunch at Parliament House will have already seen how efficient this new booking system is.

We are seeking to bring you a diversity of events this year and as you would know we revisited The Apprentice (TAFE hospitality training restaurant) for our St Patrick’s Day lunch in March. I feel sorry if you missed it, as it was sensational.

On 12 April we dined on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with a private tour included. You can see some photos from that event later in this newsletter. In May our lunch will be at Parliament House with our guest speaker being the NSW Minister for Tourism, The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP. Then, before you can blink, it is time to get ready for Christmas in July. You can keep up to date with our upcoming events by checking our website

We need your attendance to make this club viable. See you soon.

President Sue Francis

April Lunch Meeting Recap - Explorer of the Seas

Our April lunch was a fantastic event aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. Hosted by Peter McCormack, Head of Sales for Australia & New Zealand for Royal Caribbean Line, Skalleagues and guests enjoyed a private tour of the ship - including the Royal Promenade, the spa and gym, ice-rink, flow-ride wave pool and more, ending in the fabulous Giovanni's Table specialty restaurant for a delicious three course lunch. Peter gave us an update on RCLs plans for the future in Australia's booming cruise market. 

April also saw a new member inducted for Skal International Sydney - Gary Israelsohn from Welcome Publishing, publishers of What's On In Sydney. Its great to see another new member for our Club and Vice-President Walter Nand also provided an update on new member initiatives and the benefits that being a member of Skal can provide. 

If all that sounds like a full program, lets not forget the return of the Master-Fines-Master, Peter Newsom, who conducted a hilarious fines session (Max Kingston, make sure you turn your phone off in future, or you'll go broke!)

Below are some photos from the event. 

May Meeting - Wednesday 11th May - Parliament House, Sydney

Guest speaker: The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Tourism

We are very much looking forward to having The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Tourism join us for our May meeting and luncheon. The Minister will speak to us on major achievements in Sydney, major partnerships in the NSW tourism industry, provide an update on infrastructure, as well as business events and of course, Vivid.

About The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP

The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly on June 19, 2010 representing the electorate of Penrith.

Stuart comes from a Defence Force family which saw him move around the country until his family settled in Penrith.

Prior to being elected to the NSW Parliament, Stuart worked extensively in the Australian media industry, holding key positions at the Austereo radio network. Stuart was also appointed as Director of Marketing and Business Development at the Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE) where he focussed on building ACPE’s market position by providing key guiding strategic development, building relationships with industry and identifying local and international business opportunities. Stuart has been heavily involved in the administration of local sport in Western Sydney, where he was a Board Member of the Penrith Australian Football Club for 10 years and was also the founding secretary of the Penrith Valley Sports Foundation.

In addition to his sports administration, Stuart has played over 200 games in the Sydney AFL competition, is a passionate supporter of the mighty Penrith Panthers and enjoys reading about Australian history.

Since his election, Stuart has held the positions of Deputy Government Whip, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport & Roads, Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney and was elevated to the NSW Ministry in December 2013 as Minister for Fair Trading and Minister Assisting the Premier on Western Sydney.

In April 2014, Stuart had the Sport and Recreation portfolio added to his area of responsibility and in May 2014 became the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

He is currently the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events as well as the Minister for Sport.

Bookings for this event will close at 12 noon on Thursday 5th May - click on the button below to book your seat now. 

Book now for the May meeting!
Your Skal International Sydney 2016 Committee

The 2016 Skal International Sydney Committee elected at the Annual General Meeting in February. 
L-R: Walter Nand - Vice President, Tony Filippi - Secretary, Sue Francis - President, Alan Collingwood, Verniece Irvine - Immediate Past President, Martin Mitchell, Melinda Brown, Sean Cummins - Treasurer. 
Skal International Australia National Assembly and Annual General Meeting

A number of Sydney Skalleagues including both President Sue Francis and Immediate Past President Verniece Irvine represented our club in Hobart at the recent 93rd Skal Australia National Assembly, which incorporated the 2016 Skal International Australia Annual General Meeting. 

Through the process of both the AGM in Hobart and follow up out of session voting, the Skal International Australia Executive was elected as follows:
President: Fiona McFarlane - Cairns
International Councillor - Denise Scrafton - Melbourne
Vice-President Membership - Alfred Merse - Hobart
Vice-President Communications - Joanne Skinner - Sunshine Coast
Treasurer - Ernst Krolke - Sydney South
Secretary - Correen Hurley - Gold Coast

Gary Gelenter of Skal International Sydney was also elected to the position of 2nd Auditor, joining Richard Condon from the Whitsundays. 

We congratulate all newly elected members of the Skal International Australia Executive. 

The next National Assembly will be held in Adelaide from 2-3 September. Further details coming soon. 

Registrations are now open!


Congress & Accommodation

Skål International Monaco is delighted to invite you and your partner to enjoy the 77th Skål International World Congress that will be held in Monaco from 29 October to 2 November 2016.

Monaco is the second smallest country in size, but one of the most vibrant and attractive locations, with an international heart and a vocation for hosting unforgettable events, helping friends to meet, enjoy, network and be inspired. There is an Australian contingent staying at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort – book early to confirm your accommodation at this hotel.

Full information and registration at


Congress Airfares

Travel Industry Club is offering a special rate for Skålleagues travelling to Monaco with Emirates through all European gateways; 41 cities!

Departing: Sydney/ Melbourne/ Brisbane/ Perth/ Adelaide with return to:

Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bologna, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, Larnaca, St Petersburg, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Venice and Zurich.
Economy $899+ tax
Business $3749+ tax
(taxes approx Econ:200-400 Bus:250-510)

Algiers, Budapest, Casablanca, Glasgow, Hamburg, Lisbon, Lyon, Malta, Nice, Newcastle, Prague, Tunisia, Vienna, Warsaw
Economy $959+ tax
Business $3949+ tax
(taxes approx Econ: 190-300)

Sales to: 31 August 2016
Departures : 03 Oct- 23 Nov '16 (all travel to be completed by 09 Dec '16)
Avail to all Skål attendees and their partners (proof of registration is required
A booking fee of $50 for economy and $100 for Business class for partners
Taxes are approximate and will be confirmed at time of reservation.
Stopovers permitted in Dubai in either direction.

To book call Travel Industry Club on (02) 9700 8711 or email Sue Francis.
Meet a Member - Tony Filippi

Each newsletter we will 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 email to be sent the questionnaire.

Tony Filippi
Head Teacher Hospitality
TAFE NSW Sydney Institute

How long have you been a Skal Member? 
Approx. 10 years
Which clubs have you been a member of?  
Sydney North and Sydney

Why are you a member? What is the benefit of Skal membership for you?
Maintain an industry network and the lunches are always good fun too!
What is the best thing about being a member of Skal? 
Building friendships and discussing our vast travel tourism and hospitality industry
What is the biggest challenge facing the travel and tourism industry right now?
Retention of good staff
What has been your favourite holiday destination so far? 
Costa Rica
Where would you like to go next?
Greece and southern Spain
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?
The then Chief Concierge at Hyatt Hotel Buffalo (USA) gave a great tip to take the local bus from Buffalo to Niagara falls and only pay $2.00 each way, instead of a day tour to do the same thing costing vastly more!
What do you like about working at your current place of work?
The high calibre and passion of our hospitality students and the fact that TAFE is providing students to industry applicants that very employable
What are the challenges?
Industry needing staff ASAP to fill key front line roles and some students being enticed to leave their qualification early.  This might be great for the short term however the student will likely regret it in the future.  We believe that studying full-time to gain a qualification and working casually/part-time during this study is a win-win for the student and their employer, for in the long term both will benefit.
How do you relax outside of work?
What would you do if you weren't in the travel and tourism industry?
What is your favourite Skal moment?
It was in 2004 at the annual black tie dinner @ the Four Seasons hotel attended by all Sydney SKAL Clubs.  This was a fun night, lots of interaction and great fun dancing too!
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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