To all our Asia Skålleagues I say, that like many Presidents before me, I am humbled by the task before us and grateful for the trust you have bestowed on myself and our Asia board.
We are forever mindful of the 15 countries that we serve within Skål Asia, and the need to work together to build the bridges of friendship ever stronger and on good solid foundations.
To our 5 National Committee leaders I say it is time to take down the walls that have been forced upon us by governments responding to the pandemic. With air travel slowly restarting soon – very soon, we will once again be able to cross boundaries and again extend a hand of friendship and camaraderie.
That once again we will raise our glasses to toast SKÅL as our founders 87 years ago had intend. That once again we can proudly proclaim ”TO FELLOW SKÅLLEAGUES EVERYWHERE!”
Skålleagues everywhere have remained faithful to the ideals of our forefathers and true to our founding pillars of Happiness and Friendship. So it has been; so it must be with this generation of Skålleagues.
I thank President Sanjay for his service to our Skål Asia family. To our 3 VP’s Keethi,Hiro and Kevin, to our board members and auditors, both past and present, who freely give so much of their time so that they may serve you – our Asia members, I say THANK YOU.
To Fiona and scrutineers Peter Morrison and Frances Faucett thank you for the part you played in this year’s well organised AGM and election.
Ensuring a transparent and fair vote free from outside influences in our virtual world, was always a priority for the candidates and the board at this time. Thank you all.
I would particularly like to single out our hard working and brilliant Asia Secretary Shekhar Divadkar. He is not only the glue that holds us all together but he does so with charm and gentlemanly respect that we have all grown to greatly admire.
Building bridges, emphathy and understanding shall be my priority. We must eliminate the darkness and gloom brought about by the pandemic. Instead when the time is right we need to get up; get out and throw open our arms and let the light flood into our lives bringing with it hope, happiness and success. We must encourage creativity, growth and innovation.
We must always seek the middle path. Reuniting our amicale – the main pillar upon which our association is built. We need to tear down the walls of subversion and division, instead let’s build loyalty and respect.
Our economies may be badly weakened as a consequence of the coronavirus and no-one can under-estimate the lasting damage it has enacted, or the pain for those who suffered from the loss of friends and family members and untold economic damage to our businesses and income. It has however given us a rare opportunity to press the reset button, to undo past wrongs and make them right.
A new world of travel and tourism awaits. A world that is hungry to travel, that is more peaceful, more sustainable and for Skål Asia certainly larger, friendlier and more transparent.
I am delighted that we have started down the road towards Phuket for our 2022 Congress in June. We hope to see all of you in person.
In closing let me say today the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this Asia: THEY WILL BE MET!