SKÅL USA HistorySKAL_logo

Skål is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry.

Its members, the industry’s managers and executives, meet at local, national, regional and international levels to discuss and pursue topics of common interest.

The word Skål comes from Scandinavia and has a long tradition. The “Skål” is a bowl containing a welcome drink that is offered to visitors when entering a home. One would say “Skål” as a sign of friendship. The founders of Skål International adopted the word and used the letters to create a toast: Sundhet (Good Health), Karlek (Friendship), Alder (Long Life), Lycka (Happiness).

The first Club was founded in 1932 in Paris by travel managers, following an educational tour of Scandinavia. The idea of international goodwill and friendship grew and, in 1934, the “Association Internationale des Skål Clubs” was formed with Florimond Volckaert as its first President, who is considered the “Father of Skål.”

Skål International today has almost 13,000 members in 335 clubs throughout 100 countries. Most activities occur at the local level, moving up through National Committees, under the umbrella of Skål International, headquartered at the General Secretariat in Torremolinos, Spain. Skål USA has 45 clubs and over 1,500 members and growing.

Skål International is governed by an Executive Committee of seven members, elected by delegates to an annual General Assembly, held during the World Congress, hosted by a different country each year. This allows members first-hand observation of the travel and tourism potential around the world.

On April 1, 1938, the Skål Club of North America (Skål Club of New York, No. 28) was founded. As the first Skål Club established in North America, the New York Club assisted and guided in the formation of other Skål Clubs on this continent.

“The North American Chapter Committee” in which all Skål Clubs in North America were represented, was formed on March 31, 1949, and was followed by the “North American Skål Council” on August 9, 1950, and that organization was superseded by the “National Skål Committee of the U.S.A”, now called “Skål International U.S.A.” (Skål USA). There were also National Committees formed in Canada and Mexico.

Coincident with the formation of the three separate National Committees, its “North American Skål Council” was continued to help in all matters of joint and common interest between Canada, Mexico and the USA, as well as offering membership to Skål Clubs affiliated with the Area Committee under new name of “North American Area Skål Committee.” In 2007, it was decided being part of an Area Committee was no longer necessary and the name was changed to the “North American Alliance of Skål Clubs.” These clubs come together once a year and hold a joint meeting called the NASC Congress. This meeting rotates throughout each of the North American National Committees.

Often we are asked what the meaning of SKÅL is. For us it means foremost FRIENDSHIP but there is an explanation why our founders picked this word:

Again, the flight our founders took and met was a flight to Stockholm. The word Skål comes from Scandinavia and has a long tradition. The “Skål”, a bowl with a welcome drink, was offered to visitors when they entered the home. One would say Skål as a sign of friendship!

Interested in becoming a Skå member in the United States. Please contact membership@skalusa.org and we will put you in contact with the nearest club.

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