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Hands Across the Ocean

The Africa Travel Association 's Worldwide Reach and Influence.

On many doors throughout the Kingdom of Morocco, visitors will find an ornamental hand as a welcoming symbol. Each beautifully engraved hand relates to five historic keys to peace and harmony. What a fitting symbol for the Africa Travel Association, with its hands-on approach that's winning friends and enhancing Africa's image around the globe. These efforts have fostered powerful travel industry alliances. What's more, they point to sharp increases in tourism from North America to countries such as Zambia, Morocco, Guinea, Cameroon, Tanzania, Ethiopia and others that have hosted ATA congresses and symposia in recent years.

The South Africa congress in May 2001 led to the formation of three thriving ATA Chapters. The five keys to future success are: ATA's Continuing High Profile; World Class Events; Financial Focus; Multi-Lingual Capacity; ATA Chapters Business to Business Network.


Just how high profile has ATA become? Find out in 30 seconds. Open Google, America's favorite search engine, and enter two words, "Africa" and "Travel. " Matched against governments and corporations with unlimited resources and high paid gurus, you'd hardly expect ATA to register a blip, right? Wrong! ATA web pages appear at or near the top of the search list consistently. With over 50 thousand page views weekly, average visitor session length from 11 to 15 minutes, and 26 thousand hits daily, the results speak volumes. Why such on-line popularity? The answer is simple - "positive content, over 1,000 pages of it. North Americans, who form most of our readers and viewers are hungry for current, upbeat news about Africa, as opposed to the distorted images projected by the mass media. What they see on the ATA site is proof that our approach is on target. We know that our founder, Murray Vidockler (photo- right) and Fred Fuller (to his left), both of whom passed away in recent years, would be justly proud.

How does ATA's high profile benefit Travel Agents?

Being a full-fledged association with solid connections and a successful track record allows Executive Director Mira Berman of New York and the Board of Directors, led by its President, Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji MP Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, United Republic of Tanzania, and Dr. Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey of Henderson Tours, 1st Vice President, to offer a diverse menu. The benefits of their new program include:

• Fatter Paychecks: Discovering new ways to profit from higher commissions of long-haul travel and longer stays.

• Attending Africa-Oriented Seminars, targeting special interest markets.

• Focused Networking: Developing Top 100 circle of contacts.

• Industry Alliances. Getting to know tourist boards, hoteliers, airline officials and ground operators.

• Real Life Experiences: Seeing more of Africa's culture and customs first hand.

• Education and Training: Learning about Africa's destinations and tourism products.

• Marketing Savvy: Targeting specialized markets, such as African Americans, seniors, corporate, educational and adventure travel.

• Social Networking: Attending congresses and symposia in Africa and worldwide. Broaden your horizons at chapter functions.



A popular link on ATA's website is "ATA EVENTS," where the Association is winning its high profile. Having powerful decision-makers at the helm is a prime reason. Did you know that the Africa Travel Association's Board of Directors includes no less than eight (8) African Tourism Ministers? The current President is Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, Tanzania's Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. ATA's Events Calendar reads like a CNN World News Report:

E v e n t s ,,C a l e n d a r

ZAMBIA, SOUTHERN AFRICA. In May 2003, the Republic of Zambia hosts the ATA 28th Annual International Marketing Congress. It is ATA's first ever two venue Congress, hosted by Lusaka, the capital, and Livingstone at Victoria Falls. Five flagship airlines involved in the event are South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and SN Brussels Airlines. Along with American Express and the host country, airlines have been key supporters at ATA events. ATA members can register for all events on-line.

TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA. In December 2003, the Second IIPT Africa Peace Through Tourism Conference will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. ATA as a founding coalition partner will co-host the program. Last year was designated as the International Year of Ecotourism, and ATA was in the forefront with major events in that important category.

MPUMALANGA, SOUTH AFRICA: Success of the 1st IIPT Africa Peace Through Tourism Conference in partnership with ATA and the Mpumalanga Tourism Authority, in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa, set the stage for this year's event in Tanzania.

GUINEA, WEST AFRICA. A well-attended 27th International Congress in Conakry, Guinea launched that West African country into the mainstream of tourism. ATA Board member Sharifa Burnett of Alken Tours was instrumental in facilitating air transportation on Continental Airlines to connect with SN Brussels Airline. They and Royal Air Maroc provided special rates. Following the congress, ATA Editor Muguette Goufrani toured Guinea, and her story is available to world media via the web site.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, USA. A glowing opportunity arose last year when the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) staged its 1st Travel, Tourism and Gaming Conference and Trade Show in Atlantic City. As a key sponsor, ATA was involved in bringing Africans together with top decision-makers. ATA and Ethiopian Airlines co-sponsored a Marketing Panel on opening day, which featured Executive Director Mira Berman as moderator and Dr. Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, Henderson Tours, ATA 1st VP, H.E. Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago, Tanzania's Ambassador to the UN, Tewolde Mariam , Regional Director, North America of Ethiopian Airlines, and Sunit Sanghrajka, Big Five Tours and Expeditions.

MOROCCO, NORTH AFRICA: As a grande finale, ATA held its 7th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium in Fes, Morocco last December. One of the best attended functions from the USA market its success was due to attractive air fares by Royal Air Maroc, combined with strong support by Mr. Abdelhamid Boudemiene, Director for the Americas of the Morocco National Tourist Office and Benachir Akli, President of Olive Branch Tours, and ATA's Casablanca Chapter. Keynote speaker James MacGregor, stated in summary," this event proves that Ecotourism is no longer a fringe market."

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: ATA's involvement with Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) as a founding coalition partner brought the association to Europe in February 2003 as a co-host. The Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, President, represented ATA as a keynote speaker. This Second Global Summit of IIPT was held at the same site as the famous Reagan-Gorbachev Summit that led to the end of the cold war.


When Zambia's Tourism Marketing team visited four U.S. cities this February to promote the May 2003 Congress, ATA arranged key meetings with the IMF International Monetary fund and The World Bank. These kind of contacts are one of the benefits for ATA member countries in getting assistance for tourism development.

CAMEROON, CENTRAL AFRICA: The theme of ATA's last event in Cameroon in 2001 was "Ecotourism, Culture and Investment," echoing a desire to put business and income generation for African countries high on the agenda. Statistics by Webtrends for March 2003 show that "The Cameroon Story" is the most read page on ATA's 920-page web site. Cameroon's profile in the North American travel industry is being greatly enhanced by its involvement with ATA.

TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA: On the business front, Tanzanian President William Mkapa and Tourism Minister and ATA President Hon. Zakia Meghji, were keynote speakers at the First Tanzania Tourism Investment Conference in Arusha. The event was organized by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a World Bank Group. Giving a hand to its African members by attracting capital for tourism infrastructure and promoting business partnerships is another area where ATA shines.

BERMUDA, THE CARIBBEAN: ATA's outreach to the Caribbean and the African Diaspora Heritage Trail - a further stimulus for trade routes, tourism infrastructure and investment. The program was launched at ATA's 26th International Congress in Cape Town, South Africa by Bermuda's President, Hon. Jennifer Smith and its Tourism Minister, the late Hon. David Allen.


How does ATA reach out to over 22 French speaking African Countries, French Canada, Europe and the Francophone Community? While ATA has staged highly successful events in Africa's French speaking countries with regularity, in 2002 the association went a step further in 2002. It targeted a vast new readership by publishing its official magazine in both French and English. In time, management expects that the web site will also offer this option to a greater extent, and efforts are currently underway. An important blueprint has been set for the future. At the same time, the foundation of a permanent ATA chapter in French Canada was laid for participation at the 15th Salon International de Voyage in Montréal. Since one third of all Canadians speak French, as do many Africans, the publication's bilingual move was a natural. Watch for separate French language supplements of issues such as our 2003 Congress Edition (above).


ATA CHAPTER MARKETING SEMINARS: Paramount in each ATA event is the "Chapter Presidents' Marketing Panel," the most recent being chaired by ATA New York Chapter President Marlene Melton. Representing U.S. Chapters are Wendy Johnson, Washington, DC; Council Irwin, Detroit; James Brock, Atlanta; Michael Madison, Los Angeles; Hemie Gibson, Tennessee, and Chester Spears, Chicago. African chapter leaders, such as Rube Khan, Western Cape, South Africa; Françoise Kamene Lele, Cameroon; Joe Nyarko, Ghana; Abimbola Bode-Thomas, Nigeria; Peter Muiruri, Kenya; Theo Abediaye, Benin; Enzio Ross, Zambia and Therese Haury, Cote d'Ivoire provide a lively exchange. This "hands across the ocean" leads the way to joint tours, road shows, regional representation and partnerships.

While ATA has been moving mountains in terms of events, alliances and activities, one of the biggest, most expensive hurdles ATA faces is getting the word out. The Internet has been an enormous help, and thanks to its communications tools, a network is being formed to distribute ATA's official magazine. To enhance these efforts. A CHAPTER EXCHANGEsection has been added to the site, so that the African and North American chapters can have a free 24 flow of business to business contact.

ATA Chapters are the backbone of its program, with strategic locations in New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Tennessee, Detroit, Los Angeles and Vancouver. African Chapters are in South Africa (Gauteng and Western Cape), Morocco (Casablanca and Fez), Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia These chapters with their African and Canadian About the ATA

The Africa Travel Association 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 ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents of Travel Agents), WTO (World Tourism Organization), an industry partner with ARTA (Association of Retail Travel Agents), a founding member of IIPT's Coalition of Partners for Peace Through Tourism; and a "Green Globe" member. ATA organizes

ATA, The Africa Travel Association is ...

- A member of WTO, World Tourism Organization

- A member of ASTA, American Society of Travel Agents

- A member of USTOA, United States Tour Operators Association

- An industry partner in Green Globe

- A founding member of IIPT Coalition of Partners, International

Institute for Peace Through Tourism

- A member of TIES, the International Ecotourism Society

- A founding member of RETOSA, Regional Tourism

Organization of Southern Africa

- A partner of ARTA, Association of Retail Travel Agents

- A partner of SATH, Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality

- A partner with Bermuda and the CTO, Caribbean Tourism

Organization in the African Diaspora Heritage Trail project for

Cross Border Tourism Initiatives.


See ATA Profile