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You are here: Home  January 2010  People Canadian Skålleagues in Budapest

Canadian Skålleagues in Budapest

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Canadian Skål attendees at the SICAN President’s Reception. His Excellency, Canadian Ambassador Pierre Guimond, second from right, addressed the Canadian delegates. John Duggan, president of Skål Canada is at the centre of the photo.

By Frank Vismeg

Skål International, founded as an international association in 1934, is the world’s biggest association of tourism and travel professionals. Skål is the ideal platform for “Doing business on the basis of Ethics, Friendship and Trust with friends,” and members are encouraged to network with other members in the 90 countries and 460 locations where Skål exists. Frank Vismeg, incoming president of Skål Toronto North, shares his observations from the recent Skål International World Congress in Hungary.

I have returned from a very successful and memorable 70th Skål World Congress, which was held in Budapest, Hungary. We are proudly celebrating our 75th anniversary this year. There were over 975 delegates from more than 60 nations, 31 of whom came from Canada; the largest attendance in the last 10 years. 

This was my 4th World Congress in the past five years and I would like to share with you a few of my notes from listening to president Hulya Aslantas, who was one of the most active and accomplished Skål International presidents. 

I had the privilege of inviting our Canadian ambassador, His Excellency Pierre Guimond, as our special guest to the Canadian Reception. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, also extended best wishes and greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada.

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Frank Vismeg with outgoing Skål International World President Hulya Aslantas.
President Aslantas observed that “Tourism has become a truly global industry. Almost every country today considers tourism as a major engine of their economies and a major contributor to their gross domestic product. Skål is part of this. 

“Skål is a big and powerful family – an organization of tourism leaders around the world promoting global tourism and friendship,” she said.

“Therefore, I urge you to utilize the power of the Skål website where you can reach your Skålleagues who are willing to do business with you and your organization. Please place the sign on your entrance door, ‘Skål Member is here.’”

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Frank Vismeg with incoming Skål International World president Nik Racic.
Nik Racic from Croatia is the 2009/10 incoming president.

The changes and growth in our industry have been truly inspiring. Increased mobility and the curiosity of people across the globe have enabled tourism to provide more than 75 million jobs globally, with revenues of one trillion dollars. 

According to the Report “Vision for 2020”, prepared by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the number of travellers is expected to rise to 1.5 billion in 2020 and the income from tourism to two trillion dollars.

Clearly the business of tourism has become very serious, very lucrative, very fashionable and very competitive.

This is a good development. Through tourism, citizens become ambassadors, culture becomes national character, places become pride-filled attractions, experiences become stories, and strangers become friends.


Tourism is unique because in addition to its economic dimensions it also fulfills what I call the “sacred mission” of fighting prejudices and misconceptions by bringing people from different nations closer.

Skål Members worldwide can assume the role of being “Ambassadors of Peace” by bringing people from different regions closer. This surely helps to foster the understanding that is so necessary to world peace.

The challenges we all faced this past year remind us that we should come even closer together to support one another and benefit from our membership in this prestigious organization. 

Since I became a member 10 years ago, I have travelled to 32 countries and met wonderful Skålleagues everywhere. Doing business with them proved to me that our great organization has enormous untapped potential.  

I have witnessed the incredible power and networking opportunities each and every Skål member can add to our great movement. We have an exciting year ahead to grow our membership. Remember, Skål is the first, the largest and the best structured association in our industry.

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For more information please visit: www.skål.org or www.skåltorontonorth.com.

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Calgary Skålleague one of the Top 40 under 40

CALGARY— Skålleague Corey Marshall, CEO of Anderson Vacations, was selected as part of the Top 40 Under 40 in Calgary.

Marshall’s involvement in Anderson Vacations began at age 15 in the company his parents later purchased. 

One of its most successful features is the Perfect Fit program, an  independent travel division that is now nearly four times the size of the more traditional escorted tours portion of the company.

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Corey Marshall (centre front) and some of his staff: l to r, Joseph Macdonald, Robyn Farrow, Kate Hamilton and Karen McCardle.

In 2005, Marshall and his wife, Karen McCardle, bought Anderson Vacations from his parents.

They then launched SimpleRES, an online convention, housing and call centre support business in multiple languages. 

Anderson Vacations won the bid for the 2009 WorldSkills competition in Calgary. 

This year, Anderson Vacations’ revenues hit $23 million — 10 times what they were when Marshall purchased the company.

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