Skål International held its 81st Annual General Meeting online for the first time ever this year, a virtual gathering on Oct. 17th that saw the election of Bill Rheaume as President of the Skål International Executive Board for 2021.
The meeting was well attended with over 281 delegates representing over 90 countries. Canada was present with delegates representing 17 Skål Clubs in Canada.
The online AGM was live streamlined on YouTube and watched by 1,266 viewers at the time of the live stream.
Representing Canada, Mr. Rheaume has been a member of Skål International since 1992, serving as President of Skål Canada as well as President of the International Council for two years prior to being elected as a Director at the Skål World Congress in Mombasa, Kenya in 2018.
"I am excited at the prospect of leading the world's largest travel and tourism association with a very capable Executive Board. Our focus will be on increasing Global Partnerships, modernizing our governance model and providing decisive leadership for the association's and tourism's post COVID-19 recovery, we are after all Travel and Tourism Organization dedicated to promoting travel and tourism," said Rheaume.
President Rheaume's theme for 2021 is: "Passion for Tourism and Professional Pride for Skål."
The Skål International Executive Board consists of one president, two vice-presidents, and three directors representing various member countries within Skål International.
Rheaume, is Director, Management Services for Integrated Hospitality Management (IHM), and has been a travel and tourism Industry professional for over 20 years, including senior management experience at destination hotels and resorts located in the Canadian Rockies.
He was President of the Skål Canadian Rockies Club in 2000 and 2001.
Originally, the 2020 World Congress was scheduled to be held in Opatija Kvarner, Croatia.
However, it was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The 2021 Skål International World Congress is scheduled to take place in Quebec City between October 12-17, 2021, hosted by the Skål Quebec City Club.
Past President Skål International, Peter Morrison of New Zealand, honoured Canadian Skål members during the Annual General Assembly. Denis Smith, Skål Canada Executive Director and member of Skål Canada Winnipeg was awarded Skål’s highest recognition, the Order of Skål Merit for his contribution to the Skål global digital transformation project. Jean Francois Cote, Skål Canada’s International Councillor, member of Skål Canada Quebec City Club and Chairman of the Board, Quebec City Tourism was named Skålleague of the Year.
Skål International hosts the annual Sustainable Tourism Awards, which were presented at the virtual AGA. Western University of London, Ontario was the recipient of the Sustainable Tourism Award for the Educational, Programmes and Media category.
Chris Alleyne, Associate Vice-President, Housing and Ancillary Services, and Acting Director of Hospitality Services, Western University remarked, “It is a great honour to have been selected a winner of the 2020 Skål International Sustainable Tourism Award, in the ‘Educational, Programmes and Media’ category. Western University’s vision is to provide the ‘best learning experience at a leading Canadian research university’, and we are committed to ensuring sustainability education and promotion is an integral part of our students’ daily lives. We take great pride in being recognized on the world stage, and from among so many others in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector striving to embed sustainable practices into their operations.”
Jean Pelletier, President of Skål Canada commented, “It was a great day for Canada. We are very proud that our Skål Clubs and members across the country are recognized around the world for their contributions to the travel and tourism industry and the advancement of Skål. We are excited that Bill Rheaume is our new worldwide President for 2021. Bill will provide the leadership and passion that we will all need in this time of tourism recovery. And, we look forward to hosting the world in Quebec City in October 2021 at the Skål International Congress and “Doing business among friends."
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