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"ATA stands alone as the only world travel industry association with African Tourism Ministers as President, Vice Presidents and Directors. These solid credentials give Africa Travel Magazine an edge in circulation via 23 African Tourism Ministries and National Tourist Boards that have hosted ATA events since 1976." Editor


ATA First Vice President


Marlene E. Melton, president of African Ventures, Inc. has nearly 20 years experience as an advertising, sales and marketing professional.  Her career with The New York Times exposed her to the many facets of advertising sales, sales management, strategy development and marketing.

Ms. Melton's career was distinguished by four New York Times Publisher's Awards for outstanding advertising sales performance and numerous other distinctions throughout her 20-year career.  Prior to leaving The Times in July, 2001, she was responsible for Foreign Tourism Advertising Sales specifically for the Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America regions. While in this position, she was successful in selling a 12-page advertorial on tourism to China, a first in America.  This special section appeared in the June 10, 2001 issue of The New York Times Magazine, the only consumer publication selected to carry this section.  In addition, Ms. Melton led the sale of a 32-page advertorial to the Pacific and Asia Tourism Association which appeared in The New York Times Magazine  during 2002.  She was also successful in leading new advertising sales from South African Tourism, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. In addition to these responsibilities, Ms. Melton was the designated New York Times liaison with major travel industry organizations. In July, 2001, Ms. Melton left the New York Times to devote her time toward the development of her own company, African Ventures, Inc., formed in 1999.  African Ventures, based in New York, is a marketing and public relations firm dedicated to the promotion of  tourism to Africa.

As president of the New York chapter of the Africa Travel Association from 1997-2004, her expertise was crucial in increasing awareness and excitement about the many destinations in Africa.  In May, 1999 at its International Marketing Congress held in Accra, Ms. Melton was awarded the Africa Travel Association's Founder's Award for her contributions in promoting tourism to Africa.  Ms. Melton developed a presentation entitled "Reaching the World's #1 Marketplace:  America" and moderated a panel on this topic at the 25th Anniversary Congress of ATA held in Addis Ababa in May, 2000.  Under her leadership as its president, the New York chapter of ATA received ATA's 2000 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Association.  At ATA's Fifth Ecotourism Symposium held in Yaounde, Cameroon in December 2001 and at its 27th Annual International Marketing Congress held in Conakry, Guinea in May, 2002, Ms. Melton collaborated on the presentation of a Destination Marketing model which she developed.  In addition, Ms. Melton presented a paper entitled "How to Successfully Market the African Diaspora as a Cultural Tourism Product" at the Bermuda African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference, held in Bermuda in May, 2002 and hosted by the Bermuda Department of Tourism.  In January, 2004, she was part of a panel hosted by the Adventures in Travel Expo, held at New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, entitled "Africa: High Yield Success Story"  Under the auspices of the New York chapter of ATA, she has organized numerous promotional receptions for tourism delegations from various destinations throughout Africa.  Ms. Melton has visited twenty-two African destinations and continues to organize group tours to Africa.

Ms. Melton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Foreign Languages from Fisk University and a Master of  Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University.  In addition to her position on the International Board of Directors of the Africa Travel Association, she is a member of the Pacific and Asia Tourism Association, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, New York Women in Travel (member of the Board of Directors) and the 41-74 Club, a group of women travel industry professionals.