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Original ATA News Release
2007 Congress Agenda

Ethiopia: First and Lasting Impressions

An aura of excitement and anticipation electrified the morning air, as our team of journalists gathered in the Newark Airport lounge, taking our seats after a brief introduction. Representing Washington Times, Christian Science Monitor and a variety of other media, we would soon share our impressions of Ethiopia as a tourism destination, with each other and the world. For weeks leading up to departure, many of us haunted the book stores and combed local libraries like students cramming for an exam. Yet no amount of reading could have prepared us for the surprises that lay waiting in exotic places like Lalibela, Gondar, Bahar Dar, Harar, Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa. Here at Africa Travel Magazine it became a lifetime pilgrimage -- a precious opportunity to preview the Host Country of ATA's 25th Anniversary Jubilee Congress. Our flight originated in Washington DC, with a stop at New York/Newark, reaching Addis Ababa some 16 hours later, after a brief refueling stop at Rome.

Since Ethiopian Airlines is the only carrier providing direct service from the USA to Northeast Africa, Ethiopia is positioned to become a hot new destination for Americans seeking nature, adventure and culture, plus Christian and Jewish pilgrimage travel. Ethiopian Airlines is becoming a hub for combination tours, including the Middle East, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and offshore islands.\

Two remarkable and unforgettable journeys to Ethiopia took place in 2000, the Africa Travel Association's Jubilee year. Each time, our agenda in the country was arranged by the Hon. Yusuf Sukkar, Ethiopia's Tourism Commissioner, who greeted us at the airport and arranged a private lounge, which is a touch of class in my book of public relations protocol. This professional touch continued and the whole project turned out to be one of the best organized trips we have ever experienced. It provided enough pleasant memories to last a lifetime, plus souvenirs galore, purchased at a wide variety of marketplaces and souks. As an introduction to the charm and mystery of Ethiopia, we joined ten other journalists from the USA on a week long trip which included Lalibela, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Lake Tana and Harar.

On the second flight to Ethiopia we followed the Rift Valley south from Addis Ababa. Several pages on this site cover the various segments of our Historic Route journey. Back in Addis Ababa, after the tour, it was our turn to be interviewed -- this time by Ethiopian press, radio and television. To a person, each journalist agreed it was a positive experience with no feelings of concern or anxiety about personal health and safety. The climate in mid February was perfect, and the hospitality of the people was second to none. What a beautiful prelude to the ATA congress, Africa's 1st major tourism event of the new millennium.

Continued- In the Queen of Sheba's Footsteps




Adventures on the rivers of
Ethiopia and East Africa
Contact Mario at Wonz Dar Expeditions
PO Box 19913, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
251-1-757604, Fax 251-1751 377