2012, 73rd SKAL International Congress

SKAL is a professional organization of global tourism leaders and the only one to unite all branches of the travel and tourism industry.

Held annually, SKAL this year welcomed more than 550 participants from over 50 countries during the Sydney event. The selection of the 2012 host city was made during a session of the General Assembly on October 9, with the two competing destinations of Ireland and Korea making a brief presentation prior to the final vote. In the balloting by the 215 delegates present, Korea won by a 138 to 77 margin, marking the first time for Korea to be selected for a full international SKAL congress; a smaller SKAL gathering, the Asia Congress, took place in Incheon in May of 2009.

SKAL International brings together representatives from airlines, cruises, railways, hotels, travel agents, and other tourism-related services. It is the largest association of its kind with 500 branches and 25,000 members representing 125 countries. SKAL also connects private tourism-related businesses to the UN-affiliated World Tourism Organization, providing members with another network and collaborative framework. Leisure tourism companies are able to share information so as to promote development and provide more opportunities to make the 2012 World Congress more meaningful. The association draws its name from the Scandinavian term skal, referring to a toast of friendship and goodwill, and underpinning the spirit in which SKAL seeks to operate.

In securing the SKAL International Congress, Seoul expects to continue to improve its results in providing incentives for international conferences. This effort will help strengthen private organization partnerships, expand bidding-related activities and create a unified bidding support system as well as a national network that will serve as a valuable resource for active marketing.

The SKAL Club of Seoul initiated its bid efforts in 2007 and received strong backing from the cities of Seoul and Incheon through the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) and the Incheon Tourism Organization as well from the national representative, the Korea Tourism Organization, and Korean Air.

In preparation of the Seoul bid presentation at Sydney, the STO provided financial aid for the bidding process as well as souvenirs and uniforms for delegation members. Last year, during the SKAL Asia Congress, Seoul hosted a welcome luncheon and provided press material and publicity aimed at the 500 members representing the Asian branches of SKAL, effectively kick-starting the campaign for the world congress bid.

Representing Seoul at the Sydney Congress was Maureen O’Crowley, a Senior Director of the STO. O’Crowley, a long time member of the Seoul SKAL Club, is club auditor and serves on the 2012 World Congress bid committee. Ten members of both the SKAL Clubs of Seoul and Incheon were joined by representatives of the Korea Tourism Organization and the Incheon Tourism Organization

This year, Seoul won the bidding for 16 large-scale international conferences including the 2015 International Congress of Nurses (4000 participants), the 2011 Conference of the International Gastric Cancer Association (2000 participants), and the 2018 International Fiscal Association Annual Congress (2500 participants).

The Seoul Tourism Organization is a joint public/private venture launched by the city and private enterprise in February 2008 with a core mission to promote Seoul as a convention and tourism destination. The Seoul Convention Bureau, a division of the STO, represents Seoul’s meetings industry and business tourism interests.

For more information, please contact Eugene Choi of the Seoul Tourism Organization at 82-2-3788-0827 or jkchoi@seoulwelcome.com .