August'21 Message from the President


Bill Rheaume

President, Skål International

The positives we can look forward to…

The world is re-opening and as members of a Travel and Tourism Organization, we need to embrace the opportunities. 

Sure, we have a long way to go with Global vaccination rates, with only 15.5% of the world’s population having been fully vaccinated (according to ‘Our World in Data’). What we need to keep in mind is that some of our Skål International countries are in the top tier of fully vaccinated populations. Canada at 60%, the USA with 50% as well as several European countries with 50% or greater, represent the possibility for increased leisure travel. Vaccination will build booking confidence. 

Borders are re-opening, and this is great news for the tourism sector. Our members as well as all of the tourism sector businesses have been working hard to be able to provide safe experiences to visitors. This means quarantines will no longer be necessary when entering countries allowing more freedom to travel. 

New research data suggests that confidence in international travel is slowly building, however the primary focus is still on domestic travel through the remainder of 2021. Tourism marketers’ efforts should continue to promote the value of in-market travel and the benefit of keeping holiday spending close to home. Skålleagues must make an effort to support our tourism communities through the recovery. We have the benefit of being able to offer great experiences to our industry friends, we can showcase our own products and services, and we can lend a hand wherever needed. As we like to say in Canada ‘Travel the Skål Way’ is both rewarding and a great way to build lasting friendships.

It will be important for businesses and countries hoping for the recovery of international travel, to plan international campaigns that react quickly as markets re-open and demand increases. Tactics being discussed include:

  • Inspiring confidence to travel by ensuring appropriate health and safety protocols are in place.

  • Encourage visitors to travel by enhancing your websites to focus on experiences.

  • Identifying the convenience and flexible factors to entice those mixing work with vacation.

  • Understanding the motivation to travel, i.e., rewarding oneself and capitalizing on the desire to get away.

As an association, we also need to support the concept of a ‘Travel Pass’ app to help travelers navigate the different entry requirements that will exist in our countries, to streamline the airport experience. Members need to work with their country’s tourism organizations to persuade governments to accept and endorse the app. 

I leave you with this thought…

"Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller"

Ibn Battuta


Bill Rheaume

President, Skål International