My experience at the Skal International World Congress (SIWC) was very interesting, I personally appreciated a lot being considered a member, but also an helper. It was very interesting to see how many details have to be organised for a conference that big.
This was not my first experience in congress organisation , I already worked with Tony Charters on the organisation of the Global Eco Conference 2013 (held in Noosa) in Queensland, Australia. The two experience have been very different: with Tony I was more in the back office taking care of social media marketing and audio/video arrangements, during the SIWC my role was more front office (welcoming and helping the other attendees during the world congress).
Working at the Skal Congress was also a great way to meet most of the Skalleagues attending it, introduce myself and start break the ice. The member side of the event was also interesting, it was the first time that a Young Skal programme is included in the world congress and I am honoured to have been part of the trial, I will do my best to help the organisation improve it.
It has been great to be in the same place and to share some moments with seniors, but also in general with international skalleagues. As often happens at the international level is easier to truly understand the organisation aims, benefits, interest and even rules & procedures, in two words the big picture of the organisation.
I am glad to say this was just one more step of an increased commitment to Skal and to my values: sustainability and responsibility, not only through my job, but also via the organisation that is already addressing the topic and concept.
I believe I influenced a bit the topics of the young skal programme, because with a great pleasure we had to dedicated moment of learning and discussion focusing on sustainability, responsibility and peace through tourism.
The first one was with Orlando Pérez, deputy manager of Sol Melia Costa del Sol. Orlando told us how the chain Melia and his hotel in particular have improved in sustainability and responsibility. He shared with us the process that he developed for Sol Melia Costa del Sol, pointing how satisfied he is for the huge change achieved, but also how difficult can be to change people mind and behaviour.
Another very interesting meeting was with Stefan Phang, sustainability and CSR director o Sealed Air (former Diversay Care). Stefan shared with us his commitment for international child protection, he is advocate for abused children, his presentation started with “ how many children should be abused to make you angry?” The answer, obviously was even just one and how to stop this atrocity? Stefan is working in different corners to help the children, but is very important is to prevent new abuses helping the parents to survive, to get some money and not selling their children for desperation, in one word poverty alleviation through small business development.
We met also Cassandra De Pecol, a young Skal member like us, from Los Angeles, CA, she is travelling the world promoting peace and friendship through tourism. The initiative she is developing is called Expedition 196, as IIPT ambassador and with the support of both IIPT and Skal International she wants to reach 193 countries in less than 3 years and 3 months. In each country she will meet with majors, Skal International presidents and students to share her view and perspective about peace.
I am glad I had the opportunity to attend this year Congress, this is an experience I would like to repeat and I suggest my Y Skalleagues not to miss it. I hope to able to attend the world congress again before I become an active blue member!
Are you interested to know more?
#AskSTW by Sara Vitali about:
#socialmedia strategies for tourism sector & linked sustainable, responsible, green or eco businesses;
#sustainabledevelopment through tourism.