National assembly promotes tourism
FOR the first time in history Skal Whitsundays hosted the organisation's International Tourism Assembly - here in the Whitsundays on the weekend.
Australia's leaders in the tourism industry gathered with travel agents, tour wholesalers, airline and hotel chain executives, tour and transport operators for the two-day event which was opened by a welcome party at the newly renovated Capers on Friday night.
Every year, delegates and members meet in one location to discuss the issues within the industry, to network and experience the region in which the assembly is held.
Skal Whitsundays secretary Carolyn Upton said the aim was to send all members home absolutely gob smacked at how beautiful the Whitsunday region was.
"We have had such brilliant feedback and lots of it," she said.
"Some members and delegates extended their stay and many more have requested the names and contact information of our local tourism operators, charters and hotels for trips in the future."
The national assembly, which was only open to Skal members, was held at the Airlie Beach Hotel on Saturday, followed by a spectacular three-course gala dinner at Daydream Island.
Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Jennifer Whitney said Airlie Beach was "growing up".
"Our local Skal members have played a vital role in the Airlie Beach - Heart of the Reef campaign, which has been very successful in revitalising the local tourism industry when we needed it most," she said.
"Council takes tourism seriously and we're committed to helping out local tourism operators build our industry further and continue to be a world-class tourist destination."
Mrs Upton and her husband Peter will represent Skal Whitsundays at the World Congress to be held in New York from September 28 to October 5.
SKAL is an international tourism organisaion.
The word Skal is Scandinavian meaning a toast of friendship and goodwill that may be offered when drinking, sitting down to eat, or at a formal event.