Perth Western Australia – putting our members wellbeing front of mind

Australia spans far and wide, so much so that we can fit a country as big as Spain into our borders 15 times! 

Despite such distance between our states and territories, we have always been a country of one voice - Australian. Each State does have its local quirks and unique identity, but together we are one - Australia.

As COVID-19 gripped the world, Australia implemented significant decisions that, for the first time ever, separated Australians from each other with strictly closed borders between states and territories. Here in Perth Western Australia, we went even further by having strict border closures within our State, creating nine intrastate regions that limited West Australians to the confinement of their residing region. The restrictions were implemented in March through our state WA Roadmap to combat COVID-19, and not lifted until June, which meant that many of our members were essentially confined to their homes. For those living alone, this period of isolation went beyond what anyone anticipated.

The travel industry was the first to be impacted by the pandemic and may be the last to recover financially. As a member-based organisation representing travel and tourism, it became very clear that we needed to find ways to keep our members connected and help them tackle the very real issues of isolation, job stress, and potentially deteriorating mental health. We were mindful that businesses had quickly moved their interactions with staff and customers from face-to-face to using virtual platforms, such as Zoom, for everything from meetings to training to industry updates. A few months later, ‘Zoom and webinar fatigue’ became another real challenge, and we knew we needed to balance virtual members' gatherings with bringing back some fun to what remains an extremely stressful year. 

We launched our Travel Trivia Quiz event open to our members, guests, fellow Skålleagues and industry colleagues far and wide. We welcomed nearly 90 participants with a professional, interactive, and purpose-built quiz platform. Our Twin Club, Cape Town, took the first prize in a memorable evening filled with laughter and good, old fashion Skål International connections.

As we progressed through our WA Roadmap, our Perth community finally reached the milestone that allowed us to meet up in person for safe, socially distanced events with limited participants. We launched our Skål International Perth Walking Club, which was for many of our members, the first time they had seen anyone beyond the immediate circle of people in their homes. Everyone soaked up the joys of being outdoors, sharing the unprecedented challenges of our sector worldwide pandemic conditions with likeminded colleagues. Our members collaborated with each other to find solutions that supported each other’s businesses, such as CoreStaff and Staffer who together developed a touch-less payment system to manage employee payroll.

To mark the milestone that opened our intrastate borders, we embarked on an event that welcomed all Western Australia's Skål International Clubs: Albany, Broome and Kununurra.

These clubs virtually joined our very first face-to-face event in a unique celebration of connection and friendship across our State.  We welcomed our Club charities, Foodbank WA and Dress for Success, to the event, providing a vital platform for these worthy initiatives to reach a State-wide network. We also convened a State-wide panel forum with our travel industry colleagues to discuss the ongoing challenges and explore for Skålleagues to collaborate.

Stay across the movement in Perth by liking and following Skål International Perth 250 Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and Young Skål Perth Facebook pages.

If you are intending to travel to Perth for business or leisure please see our website for our next event and RSVP so you can engage with travel and tourism leaders in Perth.

Nicola Strudwick

Perth President - 

General Manager Sales Travellers Choice