Skål International Bangkok November'23 event

A celebration of collaboration and achievement at Skål International Bangkok’s November Networking Night.

By Dr. Scott Smith

The Hyatt Regency Sukhumvit recently played host to an unforgettable evening – the Skål International Bangkok Networking Night. Spearheaded by the Spectrum team and Khun Marisa, and under the masterful coordination of General Manager Sammy Carolus, the event was a resounding triumph, marked by an impressive turnout and a spirited atmosphere. 

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Skål International Sustainable Award 2023 to Khiri for its initiative “Khiri Reach”. This prestigious award, announced at the World Congress in Spain, was graciously accepted by Mr. Willem Niemeijer, Chairman of YAANA Ventures, from Skål International Bangkok President James Thurlby. Khiri Reach, the charitable arm of Southeast Asia-based Khiri Travel, has won for its submission, “Sixteen Years of Reaching Out in Asia”.

In a proud moment for the community, James Thurlby himself was honored with the President’s Award of Excellence and received a Co-Chair Trophy for his service on the technology committee, a testament to his remarkable leadership and dedication.

Ms. Samantha Lauver-Marion, Head of Student Engagement at the Asian Institute of Hospitality Management (AIHM), part of the Minor Group, reflected on her experience at the Skål International event: “I was really impressed with the Skål International event, where industry leaders gather in a spirit of friendship and collaboration. The moment you enter, you feel their motto, ‘Doing Business Among Friends’. Although it was my first Skål International event, being invited by Dr. Scott Smith from Assumption University, made me feel immediately at ease. The warm welcome and introductions to everyone there helped me make valuable business connections".

James Thurlby, President of Skål International Bangkok (left) and Mr. Willem Niemeijer, Chairman of YAANA Ventures (right).
Skål International Bangkok’s November Networking Night.
 James Thurlby himself was honored with the President’s Award of Excellence - Skål International Bangkok.

A particular highlight for her was meeting Willem Niemeijer, founder of YAANA Ventures and Khiri Reach, and co-founder of the Cardamom Tented Camp. “This project is a great example of the cooperative projects Skål International members are involved in", she stated. "At AIHM, we encourage our students to engage in such collaborative networks to expand their horizons and grow in confidence. The Skål International community is a perfect model of this approach, and I'm excited to introduce our students to such dynamic, world-changing opportunities”, said Ms. Samantha Lauver-Marion.

The Cardamom Tented Camp is a shining example of sustainable tourism practices. Operating under the tagline ‘Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing’, this unique eco-camp is a collaborative effort between The Minor Group, YAANA Ventures, and Wildlife Alliance.

The Skål International Bangkok Networking Night was more than just an evening of acknowledgments and connections; it was a celebration of a shared vision for a sustainable and collaborative future in the tourism and hospitality industry. Events like these underscore the power of unity and the impact of coming together under a common goal.

In addition, Skål International Bangkok joined forces with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for its annual gathering of industry leaders. With more than a hundred bookings since November, we collaborated on the PATA Thailand & Skål International Bangkok Christmas Charity Luncheon, a historic event held at The Okura Prestige Bangkok last December 12.

This festive gathering was not only a chance to network and share insights but also an opportunity to contribute to a charitable cause during this season of giving.