Malaga, Spain, March 9, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Since 1932, Skal International has been hosting all the travel and tourism industry branches and its executives as members of the global organization. Until 1976, the organization was mainly a male-dominated organization. During the Skal World Congress in Florence, Italy, in November 1976, Skal International Executive Committee proposed a change in the statutes to accept Women executives as members of the organization.
Since then, the organization has had six women World Presidents in the last twenty years. First, female World President was Mary Bennett from SI Galway, representing Ireland elected in 2002. Before her election, she served four years on the Skal International Executive Committee. Bennett was followed by five women leaders who were elected to serve as World President after four years of service on the SI Executive Committee. Litsa Papathanassi from SI Athens representing Greece was elected in 2006; Hulya Aslantas from SI Istanbul representing Turkey was elected in 2008; Karine Coulanges from Skal Paris representing France was elected in 2013; Susanna Saari from Skal Turku representing Finland was elected in 2017. The sixth Women World President, Lavonne Wittmann from SI Pretoria, representing South Africa, was elected in 2018.
In his statement, Skal International World President Bill Rheaume said, ‘March 8th is International Women’s Day, and Skal International takes the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the tremendous impact the women in Skal have contributed to this organization.’
This year’s theme, ‘Choose to Challenge – from challenge comes change,’ is a testament to the work the female leaders within Skal have accomplished. We salute the past female International Presidents, the female leaders at every level of Skal, our CEO, and the dedicated ladies of the Secretariat.’ added Bill Rheaume.
Skal International’s CEO Daniela Otero is the first CEO of the organization appointed in 2016 by the Skal International Executive Committee. Otero leads the Skal Headquarters located in Malaga, Spain.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Daniela Otero issued the following statement: ‘International Women’s Day, a date established by the United Nations’ decisions and celebrated in many countries worldwide. The issues of an equitable future, non-violence, a sustainable and peaceful future with equal rights and opportunities for all people will continue to be the topics of debates during these days. But the question is: how to achieve a greater presence of women at all decision-making tables? And this is a great challenge. For example, in the tourism industry, it is estimated that 54% of the people working in the sector are women, but only 5% occupy decision-making roles. So female leadership as an agent of change to achieve a more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable sector is still a pending issue. And we must change it together, men and women. At the end of the day, what we all aspire to is to create a fairer and more equal world…’
The next Skal International World President is expected to be the 7th women President in the organization as the current two Vice Presidents on the Skal International Executive Board are both women executives: Burcin Turkkan, Senior VP from Skal Atlanta representing the U.S.A., and Fiona Nicholl, VP from Skal Cairns representing Australia. Both will stand for election at the upcoming Skal International World Congress that will take place in Quebec City in October 2021.
Skal International continues to be the world’s largest global network of Tourism Professionals promoting Tourism, Business, and Friendship worldwide since 1932.