From our President, James Enright

To fellow Skålleagues everywhere…  

but particularly in DC.....

Following the events of the past few weeks with the BREXIT referendum to Exit Europe, I wanted to share with you an article from US Travel Association written by 16

Brexit Should Not Cause Panic in the Travel Industry

International visitation numbers should not be affected in the long-term.

By now, many of us have seen the headlines, and are wondering what happens next now that Britain has narrowly voted to leave the European Union. My colleagues and I at the U.S. Travel Association have fielded many questions about the potential impact of this decision on the travel industry, particularly from areas that receive many British visitors. Despite some short-term market anxiety, international visitation numbers should not be affected in the long run. 

As I told the Tampa Bay Times and many other outlets earlier today, we don’t anticipate any major changes in travel volume from Britain because leaving the EU will not affect UK visa policies. Visa agreements are bilateral between countries, so our mutual visa agreements with Britain will remain the same, regardless of membership in the EU. Aside from effects on the value of the pound, there should be no impact on British citizens’ interest or ability to come to the U.S.

Judging by the markets’ reactions today, of course, there appears to be a consumer confidence issue of the moment. We will be closely watching currency markets in the coming weeks and months, and we hope and expect that these issues will fade as all parties move forward with a post-Brexit plan.

The pound tumbled last night, and it’s easy to see how that’s worrisome for businesses impacted by British tourism, especially when compared to the current strength of the U.S. dollar. However, it’s good to remember that both the U.S. and UK currency markets are stable in the long term. Our research team has indicated, as well, that the strong dollar has not deterred international inbound travel as much as we had previously feared. While the Brexit impact cannot be measured yet, any downturn should be fairly short-lived.

We will be watching this situation closely, and amending our advice to the travel industry accordingly.

And now a report from on the positive effect of the referendum

The Brexit vote and subsequent drop in the value of the pound has sparked huge demand from American travelers looking to grab a vacation bargain across the pond, with hotel searches for UK destinations up over 50% year-on-year.

With the pound at a three-decade low compared to the US dollar, Britain is now a great value destination for Americans, and travelers are wasting no time in seeking out the best deals out there.

Searches by American travelers on®, post Brexit, have increased by a whopping 50% year-on year. Moreover, the UK is a top international destination for Americans based on company data. "For many Americans the UK is a dream destination," says Josh Belkin, VP/GM of North America.

"It's no secret Americans have a real fondness for British accents, their TV shows, their pubs and the Royal family, so with the strong dollar travelers can act fast to turn that dream into a reality."

"As we head into peak summer season, Americans eyeing up a trip to the UK will want to lock in their hotel reservation now, while they are getting a real bargain. With the British pound at a 30-year low, it means now is the time to go."

Hotels for half the price  

The® Hotel Price Index™ for 2015 showed that US travelers paid on average $257 per night for a hotel in London. However, following the Brexit vote, certain hotel deals available to American travelers are almost half that price.

For example, a top 5-star hotel in London's West End is available on from as little as $131 per room per night and that's during peak travel season in August. Even better deals are available on 4 star central London hotels, with prices as low as$82 per room per night in August.

The above headings are hyperlinks to those particular pages on our web-site. For help on any of the above topics, please click on that wording, while online

From the Desk of our Executive Secretary..........Carol Betz

Skål Scholars

Our Pilot Skål Scholars Program is set for the week of August 22nd 2016.

Applications from within the Business School of George Washington University’s Hospitality division close on July 8th with selection completed by the end of the month.

Three of our Skålleagues are giving their time and experience as Mentors students; eight Skålleagues are each giving a half day of their time to introduce the students to their particular facet of our great industry, as Industry Hosts. That visit to their businesses will not only give the Hosts the opportunity of discussing their own particular career and how they got to where they are today, but will also give the students the opportunity for “see behind the scenes” in  that particular field as well as, possibly, some hands-on activity.

Our Mentors are:

          Bill Moyer; Senior Director, Donohue Real Estate, Hospitality Division

          Barry Biggar; President & CEO,  Visit Fairfax

          Philip Wood; Managing Director, Jefferson Hotel

Our Industry Hosts are

    James Enright; Helms Briscoe.                       Meeting Planner

    Don Evans; Holiday Inn, Central.                      Hotel                                                 Mary Peters; Friendly Travel.                         Travel Agency

Rick Wayland; Guest Services.                         Restaurants/ Catering

        Patricia Washington; Alexandria CVB.                 Convention Bureau

        Mark Roche-Garland, The Dupont Circle Hotel.       Hotel

        Neil Amrine; Guide Services of Washington           Tour Operator

        Elliott Ferguson; Destination DC                       Association

At the end of the program, the students will submit a paper to their Professor on their experience over the course of the week. Assuming those papers meet the required standard, the students will be awarded Skål Scholar Certificates at the Lobster Fest on September 20th at Columbia Island Marina where you all will have the opportunity of meeting them. They will also be granted a one year’s Young Skål Membership for 2017.

We hope and believe that this program will be a ground-breaker for Skål Washington and our hope is that it will be adopted by Skål Clubs throughout the country and indeed throughout the world!

2016 NAASC Congress, Boise, Idaho

Fellow Skålleagues,

From June 9-11th 2016 I had the great privilege of attending the 2016 NAASC Congress (North American Association of Skål Clubs) in Boise, which happens to be the Capital of Idaho. Approximately 125 delegates from some 50 clubs in the U.S, Canada  the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. This is an annual meeting and requires all clubs to have at least one representative attend. The delegates stayed at the hotel which was located alongside the Boise River and with the weather being in the mid to high 80’s in the high desert it was delightful and reminded me of “A river runs through it.”

There was a full schedule beginning with the welcome reception on Thursday evening held outdoors in the Basque Market featuring costumed Basque Dancers and Paella, a festive way to meet and greet the attendees and kick off the event. Friday morning was the General Assembly and the parade of flags representing all the countries and territories attending which is always a rousing event with everyone cheering for their flag as it is paraded through the room. There is always a time set aside for touring the host areas which was Friday afternoon followed by an evening dine around at some truly excellent local eateries. I opted for the at 801 Main St. which was a real blast and by the end of the night we had recruited the restaurant manager to become a member of the Boise Skal Club. He said any group that is in the hospitality business and has this much fun he had to join.

Sat was the day for National Committee meeting which lasted all day. Some of the highlights amid a full agenda of regional VP reports, Treasurer’s report and International Counselor and PR Committee reports:

  • 1.      Lots of discussions on member retention and recruitment. One of the better ideas was a new member mentoring program where the new member is assigned one or two active members to follow up with them, answer any questions, give them benefits of membership, go through the various web sites and generally indoctrinate a new member so they feel wanted, comfortable and informed while encouraging them to attend the meetings and events.
  • 2.       Picture of each new member with a paragraph of their background in the monthly newsletter.
  • 3.      Having one meeting like a trade show where members could set up a table with info and let membership know what they do professionally.
  • 4.      Young Skål seems to be taking a new direction and it was suggested the clubs concentrate on young professionals who are already in the business. Seems the rate of retention overall is under 5% of young Skål who are students actually joining Skal or even staying in the business, so the return on that time energy and resources is very small.
  • 5.      Discussed new categories like Medical Travel and Sports Travel, it was suggested to be more creative about the categories when looking for senior executives to become members.
  • 6.      The highlight was the discussion about the drastic changes in the structure of SIUSA by changing the by-laws of SIUSA which your local board discussed prior to the meeting since we had to vote for or against the changes, our board voted in favor. After much relatively heated discussions the vote was taken and it was voted overwhelming in favor to make the changes as presented although during the discussions there were a few changes and clarifications which were incorporated. Basically the 5 Regional VP’s will be replaced by a V.P. of Membership and two Directors of Membership dividing up the country. These new positions would not be traveling to the clubs except on special or rare occasions and would concentrate on assisting clubs generate additional members while working on member retention. These changes must now be presented to Skål International and have to be voted on by the Board of SI, so while Skal International USA voted to make the changes they will not become effective until SI approves which might not put the changes into effect until 2018 if they are approved.

The Congress ended with a farewell Black Tie Gala dinner at the hotel Sat. evening which was a lovely event and included a live and silent auction with some stunning trips which generated thousands for “Skål International USA”, which is now the way the USA Skål group will be known.

I have been blessed to have represented our club at 3 International Congresses, 3 NAASC Congress and several National SIUSA meetings held in places like Korea, Halifax, Sacramento, Mexico City, Cancun and Boise. One of the terrific benefits of volunteering for our local Club’s Board of Directors and running for office within the Club. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in helping guide and sustain Washington Skål in the future to make it known to any member of the Board and when board positions become available you will be asked to step in and step up. I and others in the Club have met many amazing people from around the world and been to wonderful and even exotic places and while I hope to continue to attend some of these gatherings as a member of our Club others will do so as our representatives. WHY NOT YOU!!  



Senior SIUSA Representative

Past President Skål International, Washington

DC Skål is now on SIERS

The Skål International Event Registration System (SIERS) was developed over a year ago by our Skålleagues in Australia and Hong Kong and has been operating within and between the Skål Clubs in Asia Pacific and Canada for that time. We’re now glad to be on the front edge of introducing it to US Skålleagues and as of this month, Skål DC is online.

When fully integrated to all clubs, SIERS will allow any Skålleague in the world to simply and speedily obtain details of forthcoming events that are being organized by Skål bodies globally. Thus, if a Skålleague is planning on travelling to another part of the world he or she will be able to check to see if there are any events being held at the destination(s) that coincide with the dates of travel. If such suitable events are found and the Skålleague wants to attend then SIERS is able to immediately make the reservation. All of this can be achieved in seconds from the Skålleagues' laptop, mobile phone or any other platform of choice.

The system is still expanding in the US and, as of press time, there are still many US clubs that have not completed their registration.

However, keep it on your radar over the coming months. It really is a great tool for those who travel a lot.

Check it out at and/or

This Month's Skål DC Event

Reception & Lunch

at the

Willard Intercontinental Hotel

Hosted by Patrick Birchall, General Manager

Valet Parking Available $20

Time & Location

July 27th, 2016

Reception 11:45 AM

Lunch 12:30 PM

   1401 Pennsylvania, NW

   Washington, DC 20004

   Phone: 202.628.9100

Special thanks to our annual sponsors that support us financially and host our monthly networking dinners.  If you are interested in learning more about becoming annual sponsor please click here.


Willard Intercontinental

Guest Services
Phoenix Park Hotel

Holiday Inn Capitol Hill

US Travel Association
Brand USA
Holiday Inn Central-DC
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