Europe's Voice of Tourism

Annette Cardenas’ European Tour: Bridging Skal International with European Clubs

Venice, Rome, and Munich: Strengthening Ties and Fostering Dialogue

Annette Cardenas, President of Skal International, recently concluded a successful European tour, visiting prominent clubs in Venice, Rome, and Munich. The tour was marked by fruitful discussions on crucial topics concerning the future of Skal, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to transparency, membership growth, and sustainable tourism.

Giornate dell’Amicizia in Venice: Promoting Sustainable Tourism

The first stop on President Cardenas’ tour was Venice for the Giornate dell’Amicizia from June 23 to 25. The event began with a Get Together at the Ristorante “Al Colombo,” where Stefania Stea, President of Skal Venezia, warmly welcomed participants. This initial gathering set the tone for the days ahead, fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared purpose among the attendees.

The highlight of the Venice visit was a keynote conference held at the Ca’ Nigra Lagoon Resort, titled “The 3 E of Skal for Tourism of the Future: Economy-Ethic-Environment.” In her opening speech, Stefania Stea underscored the necessity of a sustainable tourism model that respects Venice’s unique cultural and environmental heritage. She emphasized that Venice needs a strategy focused on high-quality, sustainable tourism experiences rather than mass, short-term tourism.

Tito Livio Mongelli, President of Skal Italia, contributed to the discussions by focusing on the ethical aspects of tourism. He highlighted the importance of ethical practices in the tourism industry, stressing that both large and small enterprises must adhere to ethical principles to ensure long-term success and trust. Mongelli’s insights added a critical dimension to the conversation, emphasizing the role of ethics in sustainable tourism.

Paolo Bartolozzi, Vice President of Skal Europe, added depth to the discussions by focusing on the environmental aspects of tourism. He spoke passionately about the importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria in guiding sustainable tourism practices. The conference fostered a rich exchange of ideas, highlighting the need for a unified approach to promoting sustainable European tourism.

Skal Garden Dinner in Rome: Embracing Collaboration

Following her visit to Venice, President Cardenas travelled to Rome, where she attended the “Skal Garden Dinner – Amare Roma” on June 25. The event took place in the enchanting gardens of the Hotel Kolbe, a location steeped in history and charm. Skål Roma organized this dinner to honour President Cardenas during her European tour.

The gathering in Rome was a significant event, bringing together key figures in the Italian tourism sector, including Alessandra Priante, President of ENIT, and Alessandro Onorato, Assessore al Turismo del Comune di Roma. Vinicio Borsi, Vice President of Skål Club di Roma, opened the evening by emphasizing the event’s importance in analyzing the current trends and prospects of the tourism industry.

Luigi Sciarra, President of Skål Roma, expressed great enthusiasm for President Cardenas’ visit, viewing it as an invaluable opportunity to gain deeper insights into Skal International’s global activities. He reaffirmed the club’s commitment to promoting sustainable tourism and fostering international collaboration. Sciarra’s remarks highlighted the importance of local and global cooperation in achieving Skal’s goals.

Alessandra Priante lauded Skal’s objectives, stressing the human aspect of the tourism sector and the unmatched effectiveness of networking over traditional marketing campaigns. President Cardenas reinforced these sentiments by highlighting the relational values of Skal as essential for promotional activities. Local officials, including Alessandro Onorato, emphasized the importance of strategic investments to extend tourists’ average stay in Rome from two to four nights, underscoring the city’s potential as a major tourist destination.

Mariano Angelucci, President of the Commissione Turismo del Comune di Roma, declared that Rome is becoming the “City of Yes” thanks to ongoing infrastructure projects and major events. He highlighted the spirit of teamwork necessary to achieve both central and peripheral projects, ensuring that Rome’s unique characteristics are preserved and enhanced.

Strategic Meeting in Munich: Enhancing Transparency and Membership Engagement

The final leg of Cardenas’ tour was in Munich, where she met with Franz Heffeter, President of Skal Europe, along with key representatives Jo Jungwirth, President of Skal Germany, and Franziska Duering, President of Skal Munich. This meeting, held after she visited Venice and Rome, was crucial for discussing strategic organizational matters.

The discussions in Munich centred on enhancing organizational transparency and improving membership engagement. One significant recommendation was to abolish the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) required for board members, a move aimed at promoting greater transparency within Skal. The European representatives expressed their support for this change, believing it would make Skal a more democratic and open organization.

In addition, the European clubs congratulated President Cardenas on introducing the new membership category of Culture and Arts. This initiative is seen as a vital step in counteracting the decline in international membership by attracting a broader range of professionals to the organization.

The Munich meeting also addressed the need to streamline Skal’s operations, making the association more dynamic and focused on member needs rather than complex statutes and by-laws. President Cardenas shared her ongoing efforts in this area, including her collaboration with Denise Scrafton, the upcoming President from Australia, to ensure that Skal remains responsive and adaptable to the evolving needs of its members.

Celebrating Achievements and Building Relationships

Adding a personal touch to the proceedings, Franz Heffeter celebrated his birthday on the evening of the meeting. The celebration, which included President Cardenas, the German hosts, and Heffeter’s wife Brigitte, underscored Skal’s commitment to fostering not only professional connections but also personal relationships among its members. This joyous occasion highlighted the sense of community and camaraderie that Skal aims to cultivate.


Annette Cardenas’ European tour underscored Skal International’s dedication to enhancing transparency, promoting sustainable tourism, and increasing member engagement. The discussions in Venice, Rome, and Munich provided valuable insights and paved the way for future initiatives aimed at strengthening Skal’s global presence and impact. The tour reaffirmed Skal’s mission to unite tourism professionals worldwide, fostering goodwill and collaboration across borders. Through these engagements, Skal continues to demonstrate its commitment to the values of friendship, leadership, and sustainable growth in the tourism industry.