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Grand Tour of West Africa Edition
This program will be launched following our ATA 31st International Congress in Accra, Ghana and the ATA Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium in Banjul, The Gambia.

From the Paris of Africa to its elegant Roman Cathedral

by Jerry W. Bird

Having heard our Associate Editor Muguette Goufrani sing the praises of her life and times in Cote d'Ivoire and other West African countries, I was full of anticipation as we boarded the Air Afrique jet at the Cotonou, Benin Airport, bound for the legendary Ivory Coast. As serendipity plays a big part in many of my African journeys, the first Ivorian we chanced to meet en route was a Mr. Gakpo, "The Lobster Man of Abidjan" (a possible song title), who kindly invited us to stay at his seaside inn the following week. That opportunity was a special treat for several reasons, one being that the Inter Continental Hotel Ivoire was full to the rafters and rooftops, due to an Africa-wide financial summit. Continued

A land of old civilizations, unique cultures, colorful life and unmatched hospitality
byfMariama Ludovic de Lys

Mali was the core of the great empires of the western Sudan : Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, with centers of trade, learning, and culture in such cities as Djenné, Timbuktu, and Gao. The state of Ghana originated early in the Christian era and reached its apogee betweem 950 and 1050. The empire of Mali originated in the 11th century, and its period of greatness began under Sundiata, who ruled from 1235 to 1255 and reached its peak in the early 14th century under Mansa Musa, who extended the empire until it reached from the Atlantic coast to east of Gao. The decline of Mali was rapid, although the kings continued to rule until 1645. Its place was taken by the Songhoi Empire of Gao, whose great kings were Sunni Ali from 1464 to 1492, and Askia Muhammad, from 1493 to 1528. At its greatest extent, Songhoi reached from the Atlantic to Kano and included most modern Mali and parts of Guinea. Most of the empire was destroyed by Moroccan invasion in 1591. Continued

Flashback 2000: Ecotourism Symposium in Abuja, Nigeria

by Jerry W. Bird

As the millennium's first year drew to a dramatic close, two landmark events occurred almost simultaneously; a Global Summit on Peace through Tourism in Amman Jordan, followed within weeks by an Africa wide Ecotourism Symposium in Abuja, Nigeria. In my mind, both events will impact Africa's Tourism outlook positively for the entire century. Six months earlier in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Africa Travel Association (ATA) celebrated its 25th Jubilee Congress. As guns and mortars blazed on their distant border, nothing was more evident amongst Ethiopians I met in Addis and five other cities we visited, than the deep desire for peace. Continued

30,000,000 African Americans. Our tourism. target GO