Prior to the election, Mr Wood, widely considered one of the region’s most visible Skålleagues, was Skål Asia’s Vice President (Southeast). A Skål member for 29 years, he was first elected to the Asia board in 2005. Wood, who was due to complete his second term as President of Thailand’s oldest club, Bangkok, will pass the reins to James Thurlby, Bangkok’s new President-elect.
Skål Asia has 2,529 members in 39 Clubs, 28 grouped in five national committees and 11 affiliated clubs. The Skål Asian Area (SAA) is the most diverse Area in the world of Skål. The Asian Area spans from Guam in the Pacific Ocean over more than 10,000km to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean with clubs in 15 countries in-between. The Asian Area accounts for almost 20% of all Skål International’s global members.
“To all my Asia Skalleagues I say that like many Presidents before me I am humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you’ve bestowed,” said newly elected President Wood.
“I am forever mindful of the 15 countries that we serve under Skål Asia and the need to work together to build strong bonds of Friendship on solid foundations.
“Skålleagues everywhere have remained faithful to the ideals of our forefathers of Happiness and Friendship. So it has been and so it must be with our new generation of Skålleagues,” he added.
“Building bridges, empathy and compassion shall be my priority. After the pandemic, 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 once more,” he noted.
Mr Wood also encouraged his members to look to the future with renewed optimism. “Our economies may be badly weakened as a consequence of closed borders. No-one can underestimate the global damage to our industry. It has however given us a rare opportunity to press the reset button, to undo past wrongs and make them right.
He added, ”A new world of travel and tourism awaits. A new world that is hungry to travel, that is more peaceful, more sustainable and for Skål Asia certainly larger, friendlier and more hopeful.”
With no congresses in the world of Skål since the start of the pandemic two years ago, Mr Wood said he is delighted that plans are already well advanced for the Skål Asian Area Congress in June 2022, when Thailand will host the sustainably inspired #RediscoverThailand Asian Area Congress, which is expected to attract 300 delegates for the four-day conference.
The Skål Asia President concluded by saying, “The challenges we face today for a new world that travels tomorrow, are real. They are serious and they are many. I don’t profess that it will be easy nor met quickly, but they will be met. Tomorrow has arrived.”