ATA Executive Director Edward Bergman to step down at end of 2015
ATA Executive Director, Edward Bergman, has announced his departure as of December 31, 2015 as the leader of the organization. Bergman stated, "It is with mixed emotions that I will be stepping down at the end of this year from the position of Executive Director. It has truly been an honor to serve ATA for nearly 10 years and I am confident that the organization is in a place of strength and will continue its 40 year legacy of advancing the important mission of promoting tourism to and within the African continent. I look forward to staying in touch and can be reached through".
The ATA International Board of Directors has recognized that Edward Bergman as Executive Director has exceptionally, loyally and faithfully served the Association since 2006. Under Mr. Bergman's leadership ATA organized 9 Annual Congresses from 2007 to 2015 in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, The Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Uganda and Kenya respectively; and 2 Eco and Cultural Symposiums in Nigeria and Djibouti. Mr. Bergman also launched the Annual ATA Presidential Forum in conjunction with New York University-Africa House in 2006 and the U.S.-Africa Tourism Seminar from 2008 to 2014.
ATA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010 with the African Union Commission for the promotion of the sustainable development of tourism in Africa and Bergman was recently appointed Goodwill Ambassador for NEPAD, a role in which he will continue. The ATA membership continues to grow with strong corporate support from the private sector.
The Board has actively been working on a succession plan which is near completion and the ATA Secretariat has confirmed that an announcement will be made over the coming weeks by the ATA Board of Directors as to the future leadership of the Association.

Africa Travel Association to operate under the Corporate Council on Africa in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC- January 7, 2016 - The nation's oldest travel organization dedicated to US-Africa tourism since 1975 and long considered the top global organization promoting tourism to Africa will become an operating element under the Corporate Council on Africa effective immediately.  The formal announcement will be made at the New York Times Travel Show on January 8, 2016.
Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) said, "The addition of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) to our portfolio of activities strengthens both the Africa Travel Association and the Corporate Council on Africa.  Tourism is an essential ingredient in growing the economies of Africa.  The potential for growth and investment in tourism in nearly every country in Africa is simply huge, regardless of the stage of development."
The opportunity to combine the two organization presented itself when long-time ATA Executive Director, Edward Bergman, announced he would step down from his position at the end of 2015, following the successful ATA 40th Annual World Congress in Nairobi, Kenya this past November.  Edward Bergman added "Finding a home for the Africa Travel Association at the Council provides an opportunity for the travel industry within Africa and between the United States and the countries of Africa to reach new heights. The Corporate Council's focus on investment and development matches the requirements of today and supplements ATA's existing cultural and historic tourism endeavors throughout Africa.  It was hard to imagine a better match for both organizations."
CCA has been a leading advocate for US-Africa trade and investment since its founding in 1993 through a grant from then Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the United States Agency for International Development.  In the past 23 years, the council has grown to incorporate one hundred eighty corporations representing approximately eighty-five percent of all US private investment in Africa.  CCA focuses on various sectors for investment including infrastructure, financing, health, energy, power, and agribusiness.  
Mr.  Hayes added, "Our background in working with major corporate players and investors who are looking for new opportunities in Africa is a perfect fit for the historical mission of the ATA for driving tourism growth on the African continent beyond its current global market share of this three percent of international travel."
ATA will operate in Washington, DC as a division of the Corporate Council on Africa.
Corporate Council on Africa:      

By Apolinari Tairo August 27, 2015 


Prominent leaders in the tourism and travel industry from Africa will be participating and speaking at the forthcoming Africa Travel Association (ATA) World Congress to be held in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi in November.

Along with the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange, the Zimbabwean Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, Mr. Walter Mzembi, have been recognized among the speakers at the Congress, while the Kenyan Minister of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, also the host of the event, Phyllis Kandie, has been honored among the featured speakers.

Reports from ATA headquarters in New York said the 40th ATA Annual Congress to be held from November 9-14, 2015, will be addressed by Dr. Maria Mutagamba, the Ugandan Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, and who is the current ATA President, along with Edward Bergman, the ATA Executive Director. 

The ministers who are key policymakers on the tourism and travel development agenda for their respective countries and Africa as a whole, are expected to address about 300 tourism stakeholders over issues facing the continent’s tourism industry.

Eagerly awaited, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, will speak on a wide range of issues targeting development of tourism in Africa, taking a case study of the Republic of Seychelles which has been rated as a good example of an African safari destination.

Speaking before the opening of the three-day East African Tourism Development Forum held in Kenya’s Indian Ocean tourist beach city of Mombasa last week, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai said Seychelles was a best example of an African tourist destination which has made regional tourism a priority, thereby attracting tourists from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and other African states.

Dr. Rifai said African countries need to come together to share experiences and ideas on how they can support tourism for the industry to grow.

He further called on tourism stakeholders to take all-inclusive hotels into serious consideration and for local communities to take on their share in tourism gains. 

Other prominent personalities and speakers at the 40th ATA Congress are Muriithi Ndegwa, the Kenya Tourism Board’s Managing Director; Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer; and Stephen Asiimwe, the Uganda Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer. 

The event had as well attracted key figures in African tourism, among them are the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation Managing Director, Marianne Ndegwa Jordan, and Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi from the Department of Tourism and Conservation on the Rwanda Development Board.

The ATA Congress is expected to attract delegates including African tourism ministers, industry professionals representing tourism boards, destination representatives, travel agents, tour operators, ground operators, airlines, hotels and accommodations, service providers, and travel media. 

The event will open a new chapter to the Kenyan tourism industry. Kenya has been rated an incredible destination and open for business, deserving great attention to encourage the travel industry with great support, ATA Congress organizers said. 

Addressing the media in Mombasa last week, the UNWTO chief clearly said he was against the concept in which tourist hotel owners deny or prohibit their clients or guests access to local establishments where they (hotel guests) could go out for lunch or dinner or buy items from local traders, thus making the local communities see the benefits of tourism.

By not allowing the hotel guests to visit and interact with local communities, this trend denies local Kenyans money from tourists, Dr. Rifai noted.

“It is unfair for tourists to go to a destination and benefit (only) from all-inclusive hotels. Tourists should be allowed to buy food or drinks anywhere they want,” he said.

Restricting tourists to the all-inclusive hotels, he argued, makes them a target for attackers, as the locals feel deprived of tourism benefits, he stressed.

He noted that such hotels also deprive holidaymakers of an opportunity to interact with locals.

Dr. Rifai said Kenya is now a safe destination in Africa, waiving fears of terror threats which had occupied tourists and other visitors looking to visit this African safari destination.


ATA 39th Congress in Uganda Celebrates Unity and tackles Challenges

By Connie Skoog

Hon.Janet Museveni & Edward Bergman 



The Africa Travel Association (ATA) concluded its 39th International Congress November 15th in Kampala, Uganda. ATA, a worldwide trade association renown for its promotion of travel and tourism on the African continent, works with both private business and governments to facilitate cooperation, coordination and action that will create the advancement of African travel.

The speakers at ATA’s 2014 Congress were indicative of its determination to give voice to a wide range of leaders and stakeholders in African travel and also to address recent negative news stories head-on. Government participation in the Congress started at the top, with a speech from the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Museveni and later a dinner hosted by Uganda’s First Lady, Hon. Janet Museveni. Both continue to be passionate about promoting tourism in Uganda. High officials from other ATA member countries as well as U.S. Ambassador Scott Delisi also spoke at the Congress. Airline officials, tour operators, hotel executives, travel marketers, and media types were joined by social media gurus and even a “crisis communication coach” (like Olivia in TV’s Scandal) who specializes in travel and tourist destinations.

Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, delivered the keynote address. Greenberg’s credentials in the travel world are impressive. The author of many books, he has been star of many travel shows and documentaries. If “keynote” refers to setting the stage for what’s to come, Mr. Greenberg delivered. His frank and insightful proclamations on the travel business in general and on African nations’ huge challenge with relentless, extremely negative publicity left the room stunned. He did not limit himself to Africa, but spoke of far-reaching challenges in the travel industry; he ended with a call to action.

On a more positive note, Greenberg said, after years of travelling and interviewing travellers, he had some ideas about that consumers do want. “They want simplicity, connectivity, and authenticity,” he insisted..

“Don’t sell Uganda,” he advised, “tell Uganda.” Tell stories to entice visitors; people will envision going home with their own stories. They are looking for “bragging rights” opportunities.

He told the ATA members and affiliates that most people in the United States are absolutely ignorant about Africa. He predicted that few could name as many as three countries from the 54 countries that comprise Africa. He named a few instances of “very old bad news,” such as Idi Amin in Uganda, that still live as they are half-remembered by some Americans. Add any fearful story (such as ebola) to ignorance plus decades-old fears and it equals disaster. Governments and businesses affected need to combat this equation proactively.

He advised that ATA members who wanted to grow their businesses or grow tourism in their countries to tell their stories; to sell experiences, not destinations; to get ahead of negative news proactively with their own stories, not just react feebly to incessant half-truths presented by the media, or–worse–offer the typical bureaucrat’’s reply of “no comment.”

Of course, even if African destinations can get their stories out, can sell their unique experiences and calm unwarranted fears about ebola and terrorism, challenges that they share with other parts of world remain. One of these is air transportation to some underserved destinations. Although Africa is in the process of becoming one of the fastest-growing airline markets in the world, airlines from North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa face challenges of government regulation, marketing and irregular demand.

In his opening remarks, Edward Bergman, Executive Director, ATA gave tribute to the 39th Congress official airline: Brussels Airline. He noted that some airlines had halted service to the three small west african countries afflicted with Ebola Brussels Airline has kept its service going throughout the ordeal. Brussels Airline now serves 19 African destinations and was the first airline in 10 years to institute flights from Brussels to New York. Recognising the essential nature of air transport, ATA announced a special event: the inaugural ATA Aviatin, Transport and Trade Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The summit will take place July 13-14,2015; airlines other travel industry leaders, governments as well as African stakeholders will gather in Atlanta. Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Delta Airline's is a co-sponsor. In addition to presenting ideas from experts on how to combat unwarranted fears, misguided reporting and ignorance of african geography, ATA focused on the future of travel to African destinations. Its presentations highlighted the importance of African disapora travels, faith-based and romance travel, plus cultural exchange, all of which augment wildlife safari tours.
Africa Travel Association,

I am honoured and humbled to be the new ATA President starting 2015. I wish to thank my colleague and predecessor, Hon. Eng. Walter Mzembi for the strong stewardship and good work during his term of office. My challenge will be to consolidate and build on the achievements of the association.

The mission I have for ATA is to strengthen and widen the partnership of Africa and America in tourism promotion and development. We hope to activate and open more ATA chapters and build more networks with global and regional organizations in support for Africa’s tourism growth.

I thank the administrative leadership of ATA for the dedication and focus in pursuing the objectives of the association and urge all members to revitalize and excite Africa Travel this year.

I wish you all a happy and eventful 2015. 

Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba
Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities

MEMBER NEWS: ATA is delighted to renew the membership for long-time partner Africa Travel Magazine. Africa Travel Magazine editions are now available on the world's largest newspaper and magazine kiosk on the Internet. Their subscribers include Fortune 500 companies, hundreds of libraries and other prime contacts. #africa #africatravel #travel #travelmedia

Read the latest from Africa Travel Magazine here:


Our Google Score for Marketing the Africa Travel Association

WE COVER ALL OF AFRICA - with special emphasis on the 22 ATA Host Cities (top of page) and the many countries we have visited at the invitation of their governments. Africa Travel MagazIne was launched in 1995 in partnership with the Africa Travel Association and has been an active participant in the major ATA events listed on this page. Watch for more on benefits of ATA membership




President's Message: "We want to transform The Gambia into a trading, export oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well educated, trained, skilled healthy, self reliant and enterprising population and in so doing bring to fruition this fundamental aim and aspiration of Vision 2020." ATA 35th Annual Congress, Banjul, The Gambia, May 17-20. Our Google Score for Marketing Africa Travel Association

ATA 35th Congress Grand Pre and Post Tours of West Africa. Hosted by Mariama Ludovic de Lys and featuring places and events from Rick Antonson's latest book, "To Timbuktu for a Haircut," including Mali's famous "Festival Au Desert. "

Learn about The Gambia and ATA Congress on Video. In one of a series of Africa Tourism related videos, The Gambia Deputy Minister Abila provides some powerful reasons why you should visit his country.

What is the Africa Travel Association?

The Africa Travel Association, founded in 1975, is an international, nonprofit, nonpolitical, professional travel industry association, whose objective is to promote tourism to Africa. Its membership is comprised of National Government Tourist Offices, hotels, airlines, ground and tours operators, travel agents, group tour leaders, marketing and media executives.

ATA has chapters throughout Africa and North America; is a member of many key organizations listed below, some of whom the association partners with on event programs. ATA organizes an annual international marketing conference in Africa; an annual symposium on environmental and cultural preservation; and publishes the Africa Travel Magazine and web site,

Past World Congress

2013: Cameroon
2012: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
2011: Dakar, Senegal
2010: The Gambia