Dear distinguished Skålleagues,
Skål International Europe
Area Committee is now reality.
Our process started in Paris in 2018, continued in Rome last year is now on the right track. Now we are official establish as an important area committee, counting more than 3700 active members.
A lot of energy and resources are involved in this moment to pass the starting period.
Please find bellow the message
from our President Eric Etienne:
Dear Skålleagues and friends,
I hope you enjoyed the summer, you had lots of activities, not only cancelling business. One thing we know is we are all getting expertise in this new virtual world. Tourism is a real industry, and we all need this world to come back to reality. The sooner will be the better.

Your Skål International Europe Area Committee Council, had used this summer time to progress on a few points.
Some are of course positive, some are more difficult to achieve. You will find more details in the Newsletter.
At first I would like to inform you that Thomas Döbber-Rüther has joined the Committee as he was proposed by President Hubert Neubacher to represent Germany as for the time being Hubert has to take a strict care of its own business.
A letter has been sent to International President Peter Morrison expressing the concern of some of you regarding the cost of the 2021 subscriptions, the possibility to lift off the Administrative joining fee for the next 2 years to help recruitment, and the possibility for members loosing their job to remain for 3 years Skål International member, as long as they pay their fees.
I should say It has not been a success. We cannot expect more than the 12 + 3% reduction on international fees for next year. President Peter Morrison wrote It was difficult to do more, and if National or Clubs Committees want to reduce the international fee, they can use their own funds. We have not yet formal answer on the two other points but it seems it could be positive.
We had an issue with Turkey, who doesn’t accept our funding decision to use the geographical limits of Europe. Instead of contacting us they sent a letter directly to President Peter Morrison, urging the Executive Committee to oblige us to accept them. You will find their letter, and our note to President Peter Morrison, and its answer. Thanks to the intervention of the Executive Committee, this matter is now closed.
The good news is that Karine Coulanges was able to obtain the possibility to have for free our Skål International Europe website, hosted on Skål International web to promote ‘Doing business among friends in Europe’, and with European Skålleagues. This will be a search engine to help Skålleagues worldwide  to find a business contact or a partner in Europe.
This will be only business orientated. The personal benefits will remain on the general web. We hope this website will come alive before the end of the year.
Florin Tancu has also been very busy with the various working group. You will also find its feedback in this first ‘news’.
I wish you all the best for the future.
Stay safe !
Eric Etienne
President Skål International Europe
Eric Etienne.
“I joint Skål International Cote d’Opale in 1983. At this time I was working for P&O Ferries as sales representative.
The Cote d’Opale was very active in Tourism and our club grew rapidly to nearly 50 members. We soon started regular relationships with the Kent and Canterbury club, on the opposite side of the Channel.
I then move to a tour operating company, selling mostly tours to London to the growing senior market. This is also the time I became President of Skål International Cote d’Opale club.
The club was making so much noise that I was asked to join the French National Council.
Lot of change in my life, I move to Sealink, becoming the sales manager for France based in Paris, and I also get married to Elisabeth, a Skållegue and at the time sales representative for British Rail.
I resign from the National Council as I did not agree with the conduct of the then National President, who has been fired a few month later, but that was the start of difficult times for Skål International in France.
At the opening of the Channel, I decided to come back on the Côte d’Opale and launch my own tour operating firm, selling tours in Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Netherland, to the French coach operators. And I was asked to re take the helm of the local club. But times were more difficult and we were the only club in North France, after the collapse of Lille and Picardie. The links were still very strong with Kent and Canterbury, and soon we decided to merge in one club to the great upset of the then French President… but with the help of Skål International UK and Skål International HQ at Torremolinos who saw the interest of keeping clubs alive.
A few year later we have been in contact with Brighton, and we decided to merge in a large territorial Skål International Brighton, Sussex and the Channel. This is a lively club having monthly meetings, with good attendance, and good atmosphere.
When I have been elected President I was a little bit afraid, but I had great help from the Council and I had two very friendly years. During the which when attending a national I was asked to join the UK National Council, which I did with pleasure.
A few month later, I was told if you seat on the Council, you have to follow the way to the top job… I became UK President, at the time our International Councillor, Mark Alexander was elected Sk9l International Director.
Nobody to take over its duty in the UK, I became the UK International Councillor. At the same time with some Skålleagues in Europe we spoke about the idea of a way to have a better visibility for Europe inside Skål International. I cannot be out of this move. And I participate to exciting meetings. Now Skål Europe Area Committee is born, and the challenge starts.
I should say Skål International is very important in my life.
I met Elisabeth, my wife, at Skål International, presented by her father Jean who was one of the founder of the local club. Our daughter, Alice, is a young Skål International member.
I had jobs opportunities, and business contacts because of Skål International. When Alice went to the other side of the world for training, I have been in contact with the local president, and I knew if something was to wrongly happen, she wont be alone.
It is a great honour to be the Europe Area Committee President, but also a great task.
I know for that I am not alone, as my fellow council members are working in the same direction. We have one goal, making Skål International in Europe strong. We need you for that.”
Thomas Dobber-Ruther.
Vice President
Thomas Döbber-Rüther is a creative, very mind open professional with more than 35 years experience in Hospitality, Tourism and Consulting.
He combines operational activities with in-depth theoretical expertise and has already led many projects and restructurings to success.
He has an outstanding record of improving profit margins, enhancing revenues, extending market penetration, developing new revenue sources, and managing significant cost containment.
His experience includes new development, procurement, re-branding, acquisitions, due diligence, market & financial analysis, and restructuring.
He worked for several large companies and hotel groups: Steigenberger Hotels, The Grand, Land Fleesensee, Radisson Hotel Group, Accor Hotels, TUI/ Robinson Club, Choice Hotels, Siebenquell GesundZeitResort, Romantik Hotels and Stage Entertainment.
“Today, operating a successful hotel group can be a challenge. Management and staff need to be organized when it comes to daily operations, cost controls, and personalized customer service. It’s important to balance and control costs, while working to increase revenues to remain profitable.“
Armando Ballarin.
Vice President
Born in Venice in 1944, Armando has a diploma in Hospitality.
He developed his professional experience until 1984 in the Italian and international hotel industry, when he became General Manager of the Union Lido Holiday Center in Cavallino, Italy, retiring in 2010.
Co-owner with his son Piergiorgio of Topcamp Cavallino, dedicated to the management of the accommodation business.
Armando joins Skål International in 2000 as member of Skål International Venezia, and became President of the club from 2012 to 2018. From 2013 to 2017 was Vice President of Skål International Italia and from 2017 he is the president of Skål International Italia.
Karine Coulanges.
Board Member
All her life dedicated to the hospitality industry, Karine developed the first 22 years in the hotel industry with an important role as Sales and Marketing Director in hotels of the Meridien, Penta – Lufthansa branch, Ramada, Renaissance and Marriot chains.
In 2010 Karine created her own company, Rose Meetingg & Events, specializing in the organization of seminars, international conventions, congresses and incentives.
“Skål International community brought me most important achievements, being the First Lady President of Skål International Paris, from 2000 to 2004 and International Councillor for Skål International France.
In 2008, at the World Congress in Taipei, I have been elected Director of Skål International with the portofolio Communications. I was elected World President during the fantastic congress organized by Skål International New York on the cruise in 2013.
Since 2017, I am proud to be President of Skål International Paris, my home club.
My most important 3 passions in my life: My family, my job and Skål International doing business with Skål friends”
Florin Tancu.
General Secretary & Treasurer
Florin started working carrier in the aviation industry in the commercial environment.
First in Marketing and after in the Sales. Most important challenges for him were to innovate and to achieve the impossible task.
“After 7 years of gaining managerial experience, from the position of the Sales Manager, I have started the journey in the travel and hospitality industry establishing the first online approach in the travel agencies.
Since 1998 I have build a successful brand and interesting story in the local and regional travel market. What is feeding my ego is to achieve every time impossible things, which for other people seems impossible. My internal construction is allowing now to think constructive and to adapt rapid to the actual environment, no matter how hard it could be.
I have joined Skål International Bucharest as a founding member in 1999, helping our club to have a constant development from the position of board member and treasurer. In the last two mandates I have been elected as a President for our club.
Skål Europe Area Committee gave me the possibility to create something new, to get in contact with other friends and colleagues. And the most important thing is to develop an entity from scratch to serve the international travel community. Presently acting as a General Secretary and Treasurer.”
You all must receive by now an invitation to join the WhatsApp Group for Presidents and General Secretary. Please join this group with confidence, it will be an important tool to communicate in the next future.
Now we are organising ourselves to inform you by four annual newsletter, in order to give you the precise information’s. Our intention is not to produce more information in your mailbox. Just useful information.
Thanks to our colleagues from Rome we have finalized the B2B platform. Our intention is to produce as much business among our members.
At the end our principle is ‘Doing business among friends’, we encourage you to ask all your members to register into this platform and to start to use it.
Below you can see an updated version:
More info about this B2B platform and what is needed from your side, you can find bellow:
What is it
Visit Europe With Skål (VEWS) is the platform where all European Skål International members participate in a permanent Skål International B2B and B2C virtual travel show.
Differently from other virtual events, VEWS has no time limits. It’s as if the club member can maintain a fully equipped stand 365 days a year, ready to welcome any visiting guests, both Skål International members and general trade visitors.
What is the purpose of VEWS
VEWS serves two distinct audiences:
Skål International member’s businesses (B2B)
Sellers and buyers to establish lasting relationships within the respective activities. Example: a hotel making a FIT contract with a Tour Operator.
Individual Skål International members (B2C)
Who need accommodation and other services for their individual travel needs.
Example: a club member booking for himself and his family for a holiday.
Each audience is engaged by the VEWS exhibitors to respectively obtain:
  • New business through commercial relations with the businesses of other European members.
  • Individual reservations for individual traveling club members.
Who can participate
Every club member who is up to date with club dues can participate with a page for each one of the companies he represents.
All the necessary content (full product descriptions, images and/or videos, brochures and/or manuals, contact information) must be sent by the member to the IT team for loading on VEWS.
What will Skål International Europe do with member’s content
The Skål International Europe VEWS Team is composed of IT, marketing and communications professionals that will use the full power of the web and of Skål International’s network to generate interest and sales leads.
These are the tools that VEWS Team will use:
  • DEM – Direct Email Marketing: targeted campaigns will be performed on a periodic basis using the Skål International Database and massive email tools.
  • Press and PR: Press releases, interviews and advertising through the network of press contacts to build awareness of the opportunity and create a strong VEWS branding.
  • SEO, SEM and organic: through appropriate techniques the website will in time generate more and more visibility, new contacts and enrollments, fulfilling two objectives: generate new business leads and new Skål International members.
  • SMS and WhatsApp campaigns: content can be pushed to the mobile phone numbers of the database through SMS and other platforms for instant messaging.
Who are sellers
In VEWS sellers can be:
  • Airlines
  • Car Rental Companies
  • Cruise Liners
  • Hotels, restaurants and Resorts
  • Spas and Wellness Centers
  • Niche Tourism
  • National/International Tourism Organizations
  • Startups/OTAs/Tech Cos
  • DMCs
  • Travel Agents & Tour Operators
Who are buyers
In VEWS buyers can be:
  • Travel Agents & Tour Operators
  • MICE professionals
  • Corporate/Business Travel
  • Investors
  • Wedding Planners
  • Location Planners
What information should be submitted
Every participating member will need to send the following:
1 – Business name. Example: Hotel de la Ville (not the name of the managing company).
2 – Full address, possibly in Google format: street name, number, zip code, town/city, province/state. (Example: Strada Colle Rosa, 15, 00024 Castel Madama – RM).
3 – Contact information: Person, email, telephone.
4 – Official website URL.
5 – Buyer or seller? Please select. (Organizations such as DMOs and Tos can be both).
6 – Special B2C rates for Skål International members? If yes, please describe discount and conditions.
7 – Membership Classifications:
  13. HOTEL
  16. IATA
  20. MOTEL
  27. SPA
8 – Description of the company and its offerings, as if it was a presentation to do in a trade show. Not less than 300 words, preferably 500.
9 – Logo. In jpg o