The History of Skål
Shortly after the inauguration of the first joint Swedish and French air service between Stockholm and Paris in 1932, a group of travel professionals from the French capital were invited to make an exploratory flight over the new route. The welcome they received in Stockholm led to many pleasant friendships.
Realizing the importance of closer relationships among those who strive to develop and promote both national and international travel, the individuals who made the flight to Stockholm determined to start a permanent organization whose primary aim would be the creation of goodwill and friendship in travel and transportation circles throughout the world.
With that goal in mind, the first Skål Club was formed on December 16, 1932 in Paris. In 1934, Skål achieved international status with the formation of the Association Internationale des Clubs (A.I.S.C.), on the initiative of the first President of the Paris Skål Club and the man considered to be the “Father of Skål”, Florimond Volckaert.
On April 1, 1938, the Skål Club of North America (Skål Club of New York, No. 28) was founded. From that modest beginning, Skål now has more than 25,000 members in over 500 Clubs spread throughout 80 countries. As in other associations of professionals (such as Rotary, Oddfellows and Lions), most Skål activity takes place within the Clubs, but the Movement also features National and Area Committees coming under the umbrella of Skål International, which has its own General Secretariat in Torremolinos, Spain.
Skål is managed by an Executive Committee of seven members, elected by Club delegates to the General Assembly, which is held in conjunction with the World Congress. This five-day Congress is hosted by a different country each year, thus offering members and their companions the opportunity of observing, at first hand, the travel and tourism industry potential of other countries.
Experts differ as to the origin of the word “Skål” (pronounced Skoal) which occurs in the three Scandinavian languages. It is the basis for the universal Skål toast:
To fellow Skålleagues everywhere,