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79th Skal World Congress – Mombassa

Jambo! and Karibu to Mombasa

Jambo is a Swahili greeting, or salutation used all over Kenya, in English we say hello.  From the second we got off the plane everyone greeted us with a warm and welcoming Jambo.

Karibu to Mombasa – welcome to Mombasa.

Kenya’s second bid in 2016 for the Skal World Congress 2018 was an honour that Kenya was not going to give up for the second time.  This would be the first time Skal International would hold the global tourism event in Kenya since its establishment in 1934.  Speaking ahead of the start of the conference, Kenya Tourism Board Executive Chief Officer, Dr Betty Radier said “The 79th Skal International World Congress has provided the City of Mombasa with an exceptional opportunity to showcase itself as the preferred Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination. We anticipate that the convening of the Congress in Mombasa will boost efforts to position the City of Mombasa and Kenya’s coast both as a conference tourism destination and a leisure destination.”

And what a show they put on for us, from the hotels, improved infrastructure, security, venues and so much more.  We were wowed by what Mombasa, and Kenya has to offer for conferencing and tourism sector, particularly on the coast.  Once again Australia were there in force with over 40 delegates and partners attending.

From the start with delegate registration at PrideInn Paradise we were welcomed by Maasai Warriors with a traditional welcome song and dance.  We travelled back in Time for the Get Together Party at Fort Jesus historical site as they created a memorable Moroccan / Swahili themed evening to catch up with fellow Skalleagues prior to congress the following day.

The opening ceremony of the Skal World Congress 2018 was attended by all attending Skalleagues in Mombasa, as well as being streamed live.  We were welcomed by Sylvester Mbandi – Skal International Kenya President, Susanna Saari – President Skal International, Hon. Ali Hassan Joho – Mombasa County Governor, Hon. CS Najib Balala – Cabinet Secretary Tourism & Wildlife Kenya, the Governor of Kilifi, Hon Amason Jeffah Kingi

The presentation of the Skal Club of the Year Awards was held with Skal Sunshine Coast receiving a well-deserved 3rd place.  Congratulations to the winners Skal International Bahias de Hautico (Mexico) & runner-up Skal International Boston.  Congratulations also to all the Sustainable Tourism Award winners, with South Africa taking out many of the top prizes.  Skal Sunshine Coast also was awarded 3rd place for % of increased members for 2018

During the congress we also voted in our new Executive Committee that represents all the regions of the world.  Each director has been matched for their skill sets and membership engagement.  A special congratulations to our own Skal National Australian President, Fiona McFarlane on being voted in as the youngest director in history.

  • Lavonne Wittmann: President, Membership Engagement Africa and Middle East
  • Peter Morrison: Senior Vice President Finance, Membership Engagement Asia (shared portfolio with Vijay)
  • Teresa Diaz Comas: Junior Vice President, Training/Resource Development, Membership Engagement Southern Europe and Latin America
  • Fiona McFarlane: Director PR & Communications and Social Media, Membership Engagement Australia, New Zealand and Oceania
  • Bill Rheaume: Director Statutes and Governance, Membership Engagement North America and Mexico
  • Vijay Mohan Raj: Director Industry relations and Sponsorships, Membership Engagement India and Asia
  • Marja Eela-Kaskinen: President ISC, Membership Engagement Northern Europe, Ireland and the UK.

So much fun was had by all, and new friendships formed over this time with our Dine Around at Hallier Park, Beach Party at Savorva Whitesands and the elegant finish with the Gala Dinner at PrideInn Paradise Convention Centre.

Have a look at just a fraction of photos from the Congress and the amazing safari, I went on with some amazing Skalleagues from Australia.

by Marion Mollett
Treasurer, Skal Sunshine Coast