78TH SKAL World Congress opened. World Comes to Hyderabad


Katherine B. Hadda, Consular General, US Consular General in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad, October 6, 2017: The 78th SKAL World Congress kicked off here in the city on Friday at HICC, Madhapur. SKAL World Congress is a four day, annual conference held in different locations across the world. The meet which opens today will conclude on 9th October.

SKAL Congress brought world to Hyderabad. The hall looked as if whole world was seated within the four walls of a conference hall as 600 delegates from 85 major countries of the world graced it.

According to Vijay Mohan Raj, SKAL Hyderabad Chapter President and Local Organising Committee Chairman, the SKAL Congress is organised second time in India at Hyderabad from October 6 to 9 in partnership with Department of Tourism, Govt of Telangana and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The SKAL Congress throws an excellent opportunity to showcase Hyderabad and other tourism important places in the Telangana state as the destinations for the Tourists from across the world.

Addressing the gathering immediately after inaugurating it Mohd Mahmood Ali Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana said hosting this conference in Hyderabad is the significant milestone. The Government of Telangana is committed to develop tourism and promote the same in a big way. Telangana Government is committed increase the arrival of foreign tourists to the TS State from current 2.5 lakh per annum to 10 lakh by the year 2020.

Speaking on the occasion Vijay Mohan Raj said “”through hosting SKAL Congress in Hyderabad we want to bring World to Hyderabad. And make world to view Hyderabad.”

Speaking on the occasion of the inauguration, David Fisher, SKAL International President said, Tourism is much more than just going point 1 to point 2. Today’s traveler is looking at the fuller experience of the place he or she is visiting. They want to explore the local life, cuisine and want to have the feel of the place. For instance, they just don’t want to see the world’s biggest Monolithic Buddha Statue at Hussain Sagar Lake. Besides visiting the place they want to have fuller experience, where and how it is installed, when, where and why etc to have better memories of the place, he explained.

B.Venkatesham, Secretary Tourism, Government of Telangana who graced the inaugural function as the Guest of Honour said 30 per cent of Pharmaceutical drugs used in the world are produced in Hyderabad. The World Famous Kohinoor Diamond was mined in Hyderabad.

Participating in the Twinning Ceremony of Indian SKAL Clubs with American cities she said this year marks the 2017 US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year. Throughout this year, we are exploring ways to increase travel and tourism ties between our two countries. The US Mission in India is committed to making this partnership a success.

I take pride in seeing that the number of Indians visiting the United States annually has doubled since 2009. In 2015, for the first time in history, Mission India processed more than one million non-immigrant visa applications in a single year and we have done so again in 2016, she said.

Speaking further Katherine B. Hadda said, the two way trade in goods and services between the United States and India reached more than # 115 billion last year. To put this in perpectuive, she said, 20 years ago, trade between our nation was less than $ 20 billion per year Today there are more US and Indian companies partnering together to make this trade possible.

The other dignitaries who graced include: Prof Himanshu Rai, Celebrity Speaker; David Fisher, SKAL World President; Vijay Mohan Raj, President of Skal Intl Hyd Chapter & Local Organising Committee Chairman.

Himanshu Rai, an IIM Alumni, delivered a Key Note address on Yes You Can. He talked about Human Potential, Success and Failure in Business, Conflict Management etc. He observed that one out of 10 population in the world have been customers to the tourism industry . He also observed that successful people network more.
This is the second time SKAL World Congress is being held in India. This conference is coming to India after the gap of 14years. This first one, the 64th SKAL World Congress held in the year 2003 in Chennai.

The theme of the Congress is “Together We Can” . 600 delegates from 85 countries are taking part in this prestigious global meet in Tourism Industry.

70 to 80 top Tourism professionals including Tourism Minister from Kenya are participating. Australia and USA is represented by a large delegation at the meet

Some of the countries from where the delegates are expected to come and participate include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, UK, USA, Zimbabwe, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Columbia, Bangladesh, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and others.

SKAL International is the world’s largest Travel Organization of Travel and Tourism Professionals founded in 1934. It is the only international group uniting all sectors of the travel and tourism. It is spread over 87 countries, has 17000 members in 382 clubs in 87 countries. It is the professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship informed David Fisher, SKAL International President.

On the day one of the conference a Twinning Ceremony took place in the presence of Consul General Katherine B. Hadda, U.S. Consul General in Hyderabad and B.Venkatesham, Secretary Tourism, Government of Telangana, David Fisher, SKAL World President and Vijay Mohan Raj, Local Organising Committee Chairman.

2017 is the “Indo-US Tourism Year” informed Vijay Mohan Raj. SKAL Chapters of 12 Indian cities entered twinning agreement with 12 cities of SKAL Chapters in the USA.

This is the first time any entire nation has fully twinned with another SKAL nation.

These cities include: Atlanta with Pune; New Orleans with Bengaluru, Boise with Cochin; Los Angeles and Orange with Mumbai, Philadelphia with Chennai, New York with Kolkata, New Jersey with Kolkata, Washington with New Delhi, Miami with Goa, Sacramento and San Francisco with Hyderabad.

Twinning is the tie up that will facilitate exchange of members and encourage cultural programs and tourism between two cities added Vijay Mohan Raj.

Twinning Ceremony is held to promote tourism between major travel destinations in two countries. Twinning supports increased tourism will continue to strengthen the political, economic and cultural relationships between the US and India, helping us reach our shared goal of improving US-India Travel and Tourism, observed Katherine B. Hadda.

The inaugural function started with SKAL Anthem, followed by Indian National Anthem. Then there were couple of dance numbers from artists of Hyderabad. Silver Oak School Children presented “Salam Hyderabad’ dance number dedicated to the city of Hyderabad . Then flag parade held.

On the occasion SKAL International Excellence Awards and Sustainable Tourism Awards were presented.

The delegates besides customary and traditional hospitality will be provided an opportunity to explore local cuisine—“Dine Around”, where the top restaurant in Hyderabad will host them.

The Congress staged the SKAL INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION which is spread over 1455 square meters. It is held in association with UBM India Pvt. Ltd. UBM is the largest Travel and Tourism exhibition company in Asia. The pillar-less exhibition space at HICC ensured that there is an adequate display of the tourist destinations of India and that of others across the globe.

30 exhibitors have put up the stalls. Two Telugu states besides many state government’s tourism departments such as Kerala, Gujarat Tourism, Union Tourism Ministry, Ramoji Film City, Ark Travels ( a Preferred Sales Agent for Star Cruises), Indigo Airlines, Oman Airlines, Akqua Sun Group( a global destination management company), Riya Travels and many Tour and Travel Operators, Prestigious Properties are showcasing their offerings in the exhibition.

The next SKAL Congress to be held at Mombasa in Kenya which will be ratified in this meet.

Friday, October 6, 2017