Singular honour: Last months' international 'Skalleague of the month' Trish May


Queenstown’s Skal International club — a networking organisation for tourism and travel professionals — is really going places.

From 321 clubs, or almost 13,000 members in 99 countries, local president Trish May was last month singled out as the ‘Skalleague of the month’.

And in more good news, the Queenstown club’s among nine worldwide in the ‘Skal club of the year’ competition, with the winners announced on December 10.

Interestingly, May was formerly Skal’s New Zealand president — overseeing five clubs — before taking the Queenstown presidency 18 months ago.

A tourism marketer, she originally joined Skal 15 years ago, when living in Christchurch.

‘‘In my own business I work independently, and it was just a good opportunity to get connections with the industry, so it sort of snowballed from there.’’

As NZ president, she attended global conferences in Budapest, Hungary, and one comprising an eight-day cruise out of Miami, in the United States.

Being named ‘Skalleague of the month’ was an honour and a surprise, May says.

She believes the club’s being rewarded for proving its relevance since the first Covid lockdown.

As she wrote in Skal International’s worldwide newsletter: ‘‘Since Covid-19 emerged around the globe, so many in our industry are going through incredibly difficult times.

‘‘Keeping a sense of empathy stoked with an air of positivity has helped members of Skal International Queenstown navigate the adversities of the pandemic.’’

The club’s also grown in this time to 31 members.

In addition to monthly meetings with interesting guest speakers, May’s also instituted monthly coffee ‘chit-chat’ sessions.

‘‘I thought, how can we get together in a slightly less costly way instead of a lunch or a dinner, so how about a $5 coffee?

‘‘So we set that up and it’s gone very well — we meet and talk about topics of the day.’’