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Key International Tourism Organization to Restart Addis Ababa Chapter

The Addis Ababa Skål Club, charter #311, is holding a reorganization meeting on October 25 at the Jupiter International Hotel.

Skål International is an association of travel industry leaders from all parts of the industry, including hotels, tour operators, travel agents, destination marketing organizations, airlines, ground operators, attraction managers, and event managers. The global group currently has over 15,000 members in more than 350 clubs in over eighty countries. The reestablishment of the Addis Ababa Club will add another important nation to the Skål family. The activities of the club were suspended more than forty years ago after the military coup which toppled Emperor Haile Selassie.

Desale Mitiku Asfaw, General Manager of Grand Holiday, Ethiopia Tours, and chairman of the committee to restart the Addis Ababa Skål Club, said, "We are very excited about the interest that this effort is receiving from travel industry leaders here in Addis. Top hoteliers, tour operators, public sector, and airline executives are expected.

"The fact that two key Skål Clubs with both strong membership numbers and high recognition within the global travel community have come together to help us is a big motivator. The clubs in Washington, DC, and Nairobi are co-sponsoring our re-emergence."

It is anticipated that a strong Skål Club in Addis Ababa will add another voice to Ethiopia's aspirations to become a major travel destination. With its World Heritage Sites, global air service connections through Ethiopian Airlines, and status as the de facto capital of Africa as the home of the United Nations and African Union, Addis has a lot to offer.

Stephen Richer, Past Regional Vice President of Skål International-- USA, the chairman of the Addis Ababa committee in the Washington Skål Club, and a thirty year Skål member in five different clubs, traveled to Addis Ababa to speak about Skål to the attendees. Richer reported, "Skål has been one of the key networking tools in my career to increase visitation to all of the destinations for which I have worked, including starting a Skål Club from scratch in Atlantic City, New Jersey."

Asfaw and Richer will be traveling later this week to the Skål International World Congress in Monte Carlo, Monaco, where they will be inviting fellow "Skålleagues" (Skål members) from around the world to attend the proposed charter night activities this coming April, which will include opportunities to tour Ethiopia and co-sponsor country, Kenya.

Photo caption: On the evening prior to the reorganization meeting for SI Addis Ababa, a dinner meeting was held to discuss the event. Shown left to right are Yoseph Getnet, General Manager, Gihon Travel and Tours and an Individual Skål Member from Addis Ababa; Stephen Richer, chairman of the SI Addis Ababa committee for co-sponsoring SI Washington; Desale Asfaw, General Manager, Grand Holidays, Ethiopian Tours, and organizing chairman for SI Addis Ababa; and prospective Skål member, Solomon Tadesse, CEO, Ethiopia Tourism Organization. Getnet, Asfaw, and Richer will all be attending the Skål World Congress in Monaco, where they will discuss the addition of Ethiopia to the Skål family and the special events planned in April for interested Skålleagues.

Desale Asfaw, SI Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) organizing committee chair (left), and Steve Richer, SI Washington co-sponsoring committee chair for SI Addis Ababa reestablishment, prepare to welcome prospective Skålleagues and media to the first meeting of the club in nearly forty years at the Jupiter International Hotel on October 25. 

Asfaw and Richer leave for the Skål World Congress in Monaco on October 27.