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  • Writer's pictureNicole Ruskell

Skål International: Uniting tourism professionals as friends

Celebrating 89 years, the Côte d'Azur chapter of this global organisation is one of the fastest growing thanks to its warm, friendly atmosphere and monthly networking soirées.

From left: Secretary Nathalie Zafra, President Nicolle Martin, Vice President Michel Bouthiba. ©Skål Côte d'Azur

Each month, a fun and fabulous group of tourism professionals gathers at some of the Riviera’s top venues to mingle, network and have fun. The people who run hotels, restaurants, spas, tour groups, wineries, entertainment, travel providers and even local artisan producers all come together to get to know each other. Skål International prides itself on its friendship and community spirit. Named for the festive and convivial equivalent of ‘Cheers!’ in Swedish which symbolizes the friendship that binds all members. Skål (pronounced skole), is an acronym of the words Sundhet (Health), Karlek (Friendship), Alder (Long life) and Lycka (Happiness), values on which the movement was founded. Its motto: "Doing business among friends".

Today, Skål International is present in 102 countries, with 317 clubs and over 12,290 members. But here in the Côte d’Azur, one of the largest and fastest growing chapters in the world, the members are particularly happy because of the warm, generous and welcoming president, Nicolle Martin. Since her arrival in 2018, membership jumped from 9 to 185 in three and a half years. Today, they have 217 members in the Alpes-Maritimes department. As Bon Vivant can attest, a welcome from Nicolle Martin feels warm beyond her glowing smile and generous spirit - it permeates every event and every member. There is no one member who doesn’t feel the same level appreciation and acceuil as another, no matter what their position or company.

Each soirée begins with a speech by President Martin, and then an introduction of each new member in front of the entire audience, the presentation of a membership certificate and some awards for outstanding members, and then once everyone has a drink in hand (which can take a while when there are over 60 people present!), the club’s signature toast is said all together.

Like a 'Who's Who' of the French Riviera, Skål parties are enchanting! All photos ©Skål Côte d'Azur

Imagine the evenings with food and wine and entertainment, while mingling with local artisans, hotel directors, chefs, tour guides, journalists, museum directors, opera organisers, the editor of tourism guides and the head of the tourism board, among many others… It’s an incredible environment!

Celebrating 89 years of friendship in business

On 7 October, a special evening is planned at the Bastide du Cantemerle, where the Skål International President, Burcin Turkkan, will be present from the United States, to celebrate the 89th anniversary of Skål Côte d'Azur and four outstanding years under the Presidency of Nicolle Martin. We raise a glass to this madame president with an enormous heart, and say "Skål!"

If you are in the tourism industry in any form, from gastronomy to travel, artist to purveyor, consider joining this fabulous club where the networking alone is worth the annual fee and the monthly parties are so fun, you can hardly tell it’s work!

Visit their website for more information and tell them Bon Vivant recommended you!





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