Skal Palm Beach Ft Lauderdale
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Ian Black, President
Brazilian Court Hotel

Richard Stafford, Vice President
Century Hotels, Inc. 

Cecilia Hudnet, Secretary
Chesterfield Hotel

Lisa Hamilton, Treasurer
Club Med

Carlos Banks, SIUSA Rep.
Pleasant Holidays

Board Members:

Theresa Nix
Princess Cruises/Cunard Line

Becky Reincke
Springhill Suites

Kate Merchant
Sixt Rent a Car

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Professionals in Tourism

President’s Letter
February 21, 2017

Well, if you missed this months dinner you missed a good one. The team at the West Palm Beach Marriott again went above and beyond with service and a very creative menu. It is no wonder that the membership voted the Marriott West Palm Beach as the Venue of the Year for 2016. Shelly Pappas the Marriott's General Manager shared with us some of the remodeling that has and will be taking place since we last visited the property. If you haven't seen the new lobby you really have to go check it out.

Jorge Pesquera was unable to be with us as he joined several other DMO Presidents from around the State of Florida in Tallahassee attending a meeting and creating a groundswell of support to save Visit Florida. As most of you probably know there is a bill being presented to, if not eliminate Visit Florida funding, to reduce it from $78M to $25M an approximately 67% reduction. This would be devastating to the tourism industry and the 1.2M families that are employed in Florida's largest industry. There is a grassroots effort within the industry to write, email and/or call your state legislators to let them know that we, as their constituents, are against this bill and that tourism marketing is vital to the continued growth of tourism in Florida. There will be more information forthcoming on how we can all participate individually in saving Visit Florida before the legislature convenes on March 7th.

We did have a great presentation from Don Kolodz, Discover Palm Beaches SVP, Operations, IT & Strategic Partnerships. Don shared with us some impressive tourism stats on Palm Beach County and great insight into the marketing strategies including social media and online marketing that Discover the Palm Beaches is undertaking. Don is also a past member of the Chicago Skal Club.

The membership voted on the proposed slate of Officers and Directors for 2017 and it was approved unanimously. Congratulations and thank you to the 2017 Board of Directors. So, what's coming up in the future for our club? Next month's dinner meeting will be held on Wednesday February 15th in conjunction with the Seatrade Cruise Convention at the Hyatt Place Hotel and Mezzaluna Restaurant in Ft Lauderdale. We have invited Skalleagues from around the world who are attending the cruise convention to join us at the dinner.

The Installation of Officers dinner will be held at the Wyndham Hotel in Deerfield Beach on April 18th and we will again have Skal USA President Holly Powers joining us. We are also in the midst of planning an event to celebrate our club's 40th Anniversary in June and we will have the privilege of having David Fisher the President of Skal International in attendance. The date will be announced once his itinerary if finalized. His visit to our club will be one of only three stops he is making in all of North America and we are the only Skal Club in the United States he is visiting. Much more information coming shortly.

Best wishes to our members celebrating birthdays this month:

Wayne Lampert February 4
Carlos Banks  February 11
Irina Montoya February 16
Sheila Schwartz February 21
Cecilia Hudnet February 28

Thank you all for your continued interest and participation in the Club and I look forward to seeing you all next month at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. Remember to log onto our Club's website to get more information on our club, event pictures and the upcoming Skål Monthly Reception and Dinner Meetings.

For all of you that are on the road, safe Journeys and may all your travels be an adventure.


With Hospitality,

Ian Black
Skål International Ft. Lauderdale & Palm Beaches