National Board

carl vaz (president)

Sk. Carl Vaz ( President )

Sk. Sanjeev Mehra ( President )

venkat reddy vice president

Sk. Venkat Reddy
( 2nd Vice President )

krishna gopalan secretary

Sk. Krishna Gopalan ( Secretary )

ranjit vig treasurer

Sk. Ranjit Vig ( Treasurer )

saravanan palanivelu isc

Sk. Saravanan Palanivelu
( International Skål Councillor )

vivek braganza director pr

Sk. Vivek Braganza
( National Director,
PR & Communication )

shalini khanna charles director young skal

Sk. Shalini Khanna Charles
( Director, Young Skål )

The Skål Connection
On October 28th, 2020, Carl Vaz was elected as President, Skål International India (2020–2022) at the AGM in Chennai. Skål International is the world’s largest global tourism association comprising senior professionals from travel, hospitality, airlines, and tourism board organisations. Carl currently leads a team of professionals on the Skål International India Board with an ambitious plan to revive and restore the businesses of Skål’s India members.

He formerly served as President for Skål International Bombay for 2 terms: 2012–2014, and 2014–2016. He thereafter served on the Skål International India Board for one term each as 2nd Vice President (2016– 2018), and 1st Vice President (2018– 2020). October 2020, he was elected as President, Skål International India (2020–2022)

Educational & Professional Qualifications
Carl has pursued a degree in Business Administration whilst living abroad and upon his return to India pursued two post-graduate diplomas from the K.C. College of Management Studies, Mumbai, in the fields of Business Management and Advertising & Public Relations. Carl Vaz has also undertaken various marketing communications, international trade & finance workshops, and programs during the past 30 years through various global and Indian educational institutions. He is actively involved as a guest lecturer on travel & tourism at various educational institutions in his home city, Mumbai. Further, he is a regular invited speaker at tourism and business-oriented seminars as Chairman & CEO of Charson Advisory Services Pvt Ltd and Managing Director for Destination Canada, India GSA. Prior to his appointment with Destination Canada, Carl served for 20 years as the Director for Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (India Representative Office).

Charson Advisory
Carl’s very own company, Charson Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, is the Indian subcontinent’s leading brand management, tourist board representation, and advertising/ marketing communications consultancy firm focusing exclusively on aviation, hospitality, and the tourism industry. Through in-depth market research, public & media relation programs and brand development council, Charson Advisory provides successfully tested and cost-effective marketing strategies to National Tourism Organizations (NTO) of various countries and private sector organisations from the international and domestic travel and tourism industry.

Charson Advisory’s clients over a 13- year period have included some of the world’smost prestigious Government bodies such as Destination Canada, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Dubai Expo 2020 (2021-2022), Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Dubai Export Development Corporation, and Turismo de Portugal. In addition, the company has served other prestigious National Tourism Organisations, including Thailand, Slovenia, and Croatia. Charson Advisory was also the PR agency that launched the Indian operations for global meta-search engine Skyscanner. The company works with the hospitality clientele within and outside of India on public relations assignments.

Awards & Citations
With over 120 awards and citations; Carl Vaz has been recognised by the travel trade industry, media houses, and educational institutions. Some notable examples are listed hereunder:

• Express Travel World Awards for ‘Best International Tourism Board in India’ and ‘Excellence in Customer Experience’ for Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing; India’s most coveted tourism award in December of 2003, 2010 and 2011. The first NTO to receive the award 3 times! • ‘Best Destination Marketing Company in India’ in 2019
• ‘Best Company for Destination Marketing Services in India’ in 2018
• ‘Best International Publicity and Promotion Company’ in 2017 The above were bestowed by Today’s Traveler – A PATA Gold winner travel magazine.
• Carl Vaz has been recently featured in CEO magazine as one of the top PR professionals in India.
• He was also recently presented as 100 Most Influential Leaders at the Business Television India (BI TV) sponsored Global MICE Congress Awards.
• Carl has been the recipient of accolades from travel industry association such as TAAI, TAFI, and ETAA. Personal Recreational Pursuits Carl Vaz has two very diverse personal interests; as an aviator and a scuba diver enthusiast who is currently pursuing a certification course as a ‘Dive Master’.

Pursuing his childhood dream of
becoming an aviator, Carl is certified to fly Cessna aircraft at the Bombay Flying Club, and has experience in the Mediterranean from the Malta School of lying, and is currently fulfilling his Private Pilot’s License requirements. Carl is also a PADI certified search & rescue scuba diver. With numerous open eawater dives to his credit, he has experienced deep water dives and progressed through some tough oceanographic conditions.

A highly motivated and ambitious individual, Sanjeev Mehra is the Founder & Director of Aaryan Leisure & Holidays Pvt. Ltd, an IATA accredited company. He has 25 years of success in the tourism industry and has worked as a tour operator and Luxury & MICE travel consultant. He is also a Travel Agent for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, and Destination Canada.

Before becoming 1st Vice President of Skål International India, he served as 2nd Vice President (2018-2020). He has been a member of Skål International Kolkata since 2009, and has been the club’s President from 2019. He also served as Secretary from 2014 to 2018. He has attended several Skål Congresses, including Skål World Congress in Hyderabad; Skål Asia Congress in Macau, and Bangalore; and Skål World Congress in Kochi, Goa, and Kolkata.

Prior to founding Aaryan, Sanjeev worked with CA TCG Software (P) Ltd from 1999 to 2002 as Head of Travel & Administration. He also worked with Sita World Travel India as Branch Manager from 1990 to 1998. Over his career, he has received several personal awards and citations, besides leading his company and team to 15 award wins during the last 10 years. He has been voted among the top best Travel Agents in India, and Top 50 in Kolkata. Other notable recognitions include Best MICE Consolidator 2014 (East India Travel Award), and Best Company in TTF Award for contribution to tourism.

Sanjeev did schooling and college in West Bengal. He completed his B.Com from Calcutta University, and has a Post-Graduation Diploma in Business Management from Calcutta University. He is fluent in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi, and counts reading, travelling and sports among his biggest hobbies.

A multi-skilled hospitality professional with 30 years of experience in managing profitability in customercentric business, S. Venkat N. Reddy has hands-on experience in start-ups and establishing multi-unit businesses; besides leading hotel & restaurant operations, both overseas and in India. He has developed several strategic alliances and team development programs to enhance business profitability.

Just to say Venkat has plenty of corporate experience would be an understatement. Since June 2017, he has been General Manager at Ambassador Pallava in Chennai, where he motivates and leads a team of 250 across departments. Prior to that, he worked at The Residency, another boutique hotel in Chennai from 2014-2017, in the same capacity. Earlier, he worked at The Residency Towers (2009-2010) as F&B Manager.

Venkat has sizeable overseas experience in the hospitality domain as well, having worked with Ras – The Essence of India, an Indian restaurant in Singapore, as General Manager, besides previous stints as Restaurant Manager in Rang Mahal and Pizza Hut – also in Singapore. Furthermore, he has been a freelance consultant for restaurants in Singapore, working with restaurant owners for enhancing operations and training of team members.

He lists among his key skills Budgeting & Revenue Analysis, Cost & Inventory Management, Multicultural Team Management, Menu Engineering, Project Engineering & Management, PR & Communication, and Multiple Outlet Management. Before his sojourn as 2nd Vice President at Skål International India, Venkat was President of Skål International Chennai from 2017–2019. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He also has a Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Singapore Institute of Management, and a Diploma in Hotel Management from IHM Bhubaneshwar.

Krishna Gopalan has 30 years of solid experience in the travel & tourism industry. He began his career with Bulsara Travels, Pune (1991-1994), before moving on to Prasanna Overseas Travels (1994- 1997). He then joined Travel Masters (Mumbai) Pvt. Ltd in June 1997 as a Counter Executive, and after 23 years in the organisation, he currently holds the position of Vice President.

Before becoming the new Secretary of Skål International India (2020-2022), he was President of Skål International, Pune (2018-2020). Krishna also served as Chairman, Board of Studies Diploma in Travel & Tourism at Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Pune, from 2018 till date. Other portfolios he has handled include Chairman, Travel Agents Association of India, Pune Chapter (2013-2017), where he was previously Secretary (2005-2008) and Treasurer (2011-2013).

Krishna has been a lecturer at IITC Pune, for Diploma in Travel & Tourism (1995- 2000), and has also conducted classes for IATA Basic & Advance Distance Learning course (1996-2003). Born and raised in Pune, Krishna completed his graduation in Commerce from Pune University and got a Diploma in Travel & Tourism from IITC Pune in 1993. He was a topper in Fundamentals of Fare Construction conducted by Air India Staff College in 1995, and also a topper in Lufthansa Advance Fare Calculation in 1997. He also completed an IATA Advance Diploma (Distance Learning) from Montreal in 1999.

Ranjit Vij is the Founder and Managing Director of Caair Travels, a business travel & tourism, and event management company, with over three decades of experience across domestic and international markets promoting leisure, incentive holidays and experiential celebration events to discerning luxury customers.

Ranjit and his organisation engage to illuminate the opportunities in uberluxury and experiential tourism. He has a deep fascination to curate ideas that offer vacations with innovative solutions that are unique for travel within India and abroad, each of which is based on his personal experiences. As a professional, he is a recipient of the American Express Award of Excellence for Asia-Pacific. Currently, he is also the Vice President of the Skål Club Delhi, and has been at the helm of several industry bodies, such as Advisor to the American Express Partner Network in India, President of the Visit USA Chapter in Delhi, and a member of the Board of Travel Agents Association of India. He is a regular invitee to several institutes for sharing talks on travel & tourism.

Ranjit graduated with Honours from the Hindu College, University Of Delhi, and did his Master in Business Administration with a major in International Marketing from IMI Delhi. An avid sportsperson, Ranjit is a keen golfer, with an interest in outdoor activities such as cross country driving, deep-sea diving, bungee jumping, and skydiving. He is married to Anuradha, and they have a son who is an alumni of Parsons School of Design in New York, and is currently pursuing a career in communication and graphic design.

The International Skål Council is an advisory body to the Executive Committee and the General Secretariat of Skål International. Each National Committee has a Councillor who serves as the link between the Council and the Committee. It thus follows, as Skål India’s International Councillor (2020– 2022), Saravanan Palanivelu holds a critical portfolio, especially considering that India has the largest membership after the United States.

What makes Sarvanan the ideal man for the job is his long-time familiarity with the organisation and oodles of international exposure.He has previously been Asia Area Director– Young Skål (2011–2015), Asia Area Auditor (2015–2018), Asia Area Treasurer (2019–2020), and Advisor Statues–Skål India (2019–2020).

At Skål’s Chennai Chapter, he held the posts of Joint Secretary (2003– 2004), Secretary (2004–2008), Vice President (2008–2010) and President (2010–2012). He has also been Skål India Vice President (2012–2014). Furthermore, he has attended six Skål World Congresses (in Cairns, Chennai, Antalya, Budapest, Sydney, and Hyderabad); and eight Asia Congresses (in New Delhi, Penang, Colombo, Bali, Manila, Singapore, Bahrain, and Macau). As Skål Chennai President, he signed a Twinning Club agreement with Skål Colombo at the Sydney World Congress.

Back in 1986, Saravanan established his own proprietorship company, Viking Tours & Travel, in Chennai. Launched initially as an outbound travel agency, it expanded its bandwidth to all areas of the travel & tourism business and received IATA accreditation. In 35 years, Viking has created for itself a niche market to newer destinations for city travellers.

Saravanan is also closely associated with the Travel Agents Association of India, and has held the post of Southern Regional Chairman (2010–2012) and a Managing Committee post at National level (2017–2019).

A postgraduate in Economics from the University of Madras, Sarvanan has also completed Air India’s Ticketing Course. He is an avid sportsperson, having represented his college team in football, handball, and athletics. He enjoys travelling with family and friends.

Vivek Braganza leads Shangri-La Group’s commercial activity in India. A passionate sales and marketing man, he started his career in FMCG, selling denims when Levis’ first retailed in the subcontinent!

After an MBA in Sales & Marketing, Vivek’s journey in hotels began as a Management Trainee with the Taj, before later moving to roles with Marriott and Starwood. He joined Shangri-La in 2016. During his 17 years in hospitality, Vivek has managed segments as diverse as lawyers, the PCO industry, medical tourism, luxury agencies, the Diplomatic Corps, and the Indian public sector. Previous leadership experience includes reopening Taj Holiday Village in 2007, launching the Meetings & Convention Sales vertical for Marriott India in 2009, reopening Goa Marriott Resort & Spa in 2010, repositioning of Westin Pune in 2014 and expanding Shangri-La’s presence in India since 2016.

As a certified regional trainer in Marriott, Starwood, and Shangri-La, Vivek’s passion has always been to identify and develop the next generation of Sales & Marketing superstars in his industry. He is adept at programmes such as Sales Foundations, Group Contracting, and Collaboration for Success.

A proud Indian of Goan origin, Vivek has grown up between Goa, Pune, Antwerp (Belgium), Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. An avid camper and outdoorsman; when not at work, the Braganza family can usually be found near a waterfall, lake, or mountain. Active in the tourism industry, Vivek is Director, PR & Communications for Skål International Bombay (2019-21) and Director, PR & Communications for Skål International India (2020-22). He is also an Associate Member of EEMA, the Exhibition & Events Management Association of India.

In his current role at Shangri-La, Vivek is responsible for the pipeline of business for a global portfolio of 101 hotels, with a focus on MICE, Destination Weddings, Luxury, and Corporate Travel from the Indian market.

A hospitality professional, educator, mentor, entrepreneur, and environmentalist among other things, Shalini Khanna Charles, Director, Young Skål, defines the highly motivated breed of new-age industry professionals. Apart from being Director – Young Skål India, she also presently holds the post of Director – Young Skål Asia Region. She was previously Director – Young Skål Bangalore (2016-2018).

Shalini is the Founder/Director of Atithi Vriksha Shiksha, an organisation she established in December 2018, which imparts short-term, job-oriented, hospitality education. AVS is designed to benefit the underprivileged at all levels by taking hospitality education to the grassroots, skilling deserving candidates for careers in hospitality, upgrading the skills of those already employed in the industry, and providing entrepreneurial skills to those who want to start their own ventures.

Earlier, she was Director/Principal at IIHM Bangalore (2011-2018), where she was responsible for setting up the institute, from hiring faculty, marketing responsibility of sourcing students, tieups, and following university guidelines. She also did liaison with the fellow colleges for hospitality competitions, local governments, and all major hotel chains, helping build brand IIHM

Overall, she has 12 years in the field of formal management education. Her calling is in mentoring students and making them future-ready. She is a qualified hotelier, adept at handling front office operations, guest relations, and accommodation. She holds a Diploma in Hospitality from IHM Kolkata (1988) and is a Bachelor in Hotel Management from Bharthiar University (2015).

Shalini is married to Suresh, a hotelier. They have one daughter, Inika Serah Charles, a corporate lawyer working in Mumbai. She loves dogs and is like a mom to Chelsea, Zoe and Curious who keep her busy in her free time. Gardening is also her passion.