April'20 Message from the CEO

Daniela Otero

CEO Skål International

On behalf of the entire team of the General Secretariat, we hope that every one of you, as well as your loved ones, are safe and sound at this time.

We have all been sacrificing our freedom and mobility in recent weeks to protect ourselves and others... without a doubt a magnificent display of civic responsibility!

Unfortunately, there is still no clear path and no correct answer as to how and when it will be safe to return to a 'new normal'.  We know that the recovery will be gradual and will be adapted to each region and country, depending on how the COVID-19 situation progresses.

Analysis of the Tourism sector by the UNWTO

Reports show that 96% of destinations around the world have already introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic. With Tourism suspended, profits generated by the sector are threatened. 

Considering travel restrictions around the world, international tourist arrivals are expected to decrease by 20-30% in 2020 compared to 2019 figures.

However, the UNWTO emphasises that these numbers are based on the latest developments as the world community faces an unprecedented social and economic challenge and should be interpreted with caution in view of the extremely uncertain nature of the current crisis.

What is being done globally?

Through the World Tourism Organisation and in cooperation with representatives of the private sector, governments are being urged to continually review travel restrictions and to relax or lift them as soon as this can be done safely. This is important because there is an urgent need to work toward the responsible recovery of the sector. 

The preparation of financial and economic responses has been the main focus of attention at the last meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, while the European Commission has been promoting political cooperation within the EU. The Tourism Crisis Committee meeting called on governments, private organisations and philanthropists to help raise $8 billion together to address the existing funding gap and adequately address the pandemic.

Unifying the voice of the sector.

The UNWTO established the Global Tourism Crisis Committee with the purpose of bringing together the different parts that make up the Tourism sector, to outline a united response aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and preparing Tourism for its recovery. We are collaborating there, with representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Skål International was also represented within the UNWTO Affiliate Members Department, along with other associations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airports Council International (ACI), the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

What are we doing at Skål International?

Our organisation is responding to this crisis from all levels. Clubs and National and Regional Committees are taking initiatives, proposing innovative ideas and in permanent communication with their members. Thank you to everyone for this!

The General Secretariat has also implemented a contingency plan and we have adapted the priorities to the current circumstances.

  • Updated information: We have updated our website with quality content: press releases, official and key statements from regulatory agencies and government ministries to have an objective perspective of the global COVID-19 situation at all times, as well as resources, communications and corporate news from Skål International related to this global crisis. You can access this collection from the banner located at the top of our platform.

  • Webinar with the National and Regional Presidents of Skål International: Likewise, we are working on the coordination of agendas to hold a webinar with all the National and Regional Presidents of Skål International in the coming days. The purpose will be to obtain joint feedback regarding the current situation in each country and area, and thus be able to evaluate possible action measures.

  • Skål International Resource Centre. We are working on a new space dedicated to information and training, which are so valuable at the moment. We will shortly send a communication to invite you to access our Resource Centre on the new website, a space where you can find valuable professional information to apply to your business or company. Among our members, there are many who work in the field of ​​education or who are consultants, and we are sure that they will be able to share valuable material for free that could be useful and help us all.

  • Free webinars for all members with relevant experts and leaders within the Tourism industry. Being well informed will allow us all to make better decisions. We will shortly send the calendar with proposed dates and themes.

Looking to the future. What will be the scenario in the short and medium term?

There is currently very little reliable information and the data changes every day. However, the renowned consultancy firm Deloitte has produced a very preliminary estimate of the scenario for the short and medium term that may show a trend. 

Within this report, according to its estimates, the travel industry is the only one that will not experience any type of recovery between this April and the middle of May 2020. 

Deloitte expects that the stabilisation period will begin in the month of June and it is estimated that in the month of August, hotels will experience somewhat higher growth due to national domestic Tourism. 

It is then estimated that there would be two small peaks in travel toward the end of the year, the first in November when it is estimated that a portion of the corporate travel and events travel that were postponed could begin; and another, in December 2020, when international Tourism resumes, giving rise to a period of true economic recovery.

According to Deloitte, in 2021, 7% of income will be spent on travel and hotels, 12% less than in the results obtained before the appearance of the coronavirus.

We know that a complicated scenario awaits us, however, Tourism will recover. But in order to overcome this as an industry, to reach the other side of this crisis, we must be united.

Many things will surely change after this crisis. We will need to be resilient and adapt to new regulations, but what will remain intact is the spirit of fellowship within our sector and among our members. 

This was precisely why World Skål International Day was established in 1978. This year, our celebration takes on a much deeper significance because it is right within our organisation, where we will strive to ensure that this challenge has a kinder and more conciliatory effect by uniting us all. 


Let's celebrate World Skål International Day together, and Skål!

Daniela Otero

CEO Skål International