Take your time. The Zambia Story has lots of photos,   links and animations.

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Zambia adds "Zest" to ATA's 28th Congress
by Jerry W. Bird

Africa Travel Magazine animated logo links to Interactive Map of African Tourism Destinationsz

Zambia hosted successful ATA events in 1981 and 1993 - however the Africa Travel Association's 28th International Congress in May, 2003 was the first "double-header," with Lusaka and Livingstone-Victoria Falls sharing the honors. There's something magical about any ATA event, and our Zambian friends added their own zest to the menu. We call it going for the gusto! What delegate wouldn't be awed by Mosi- O-Tunya, the smoke that thunders, or the denizens we encountered up close on a Lower Zambezi canoe safari. For business, networking and professional presentation, the Trade Show at Lusaka's InterContinental Hotel was a sure winner. Zambia is a great place to get around, thanks to its airlines and road links, which meant we covered much more territory than expected. The country's elevation allows for a more pleasant climate than one would expect in a tropical country - all the more reason to plan an encore in 2004.

To catch some of the Congress action and attractions, see our magazine's 11 pages of photo archives plus our AWARDS page and comments by key participants and presenters.

To drum up advance interest in "The Real Africa," Zambia's National Tourist Office staged a USA Road Show, aided by ATA's Southern California, Atlanta, Washington and New York chapters. These venues helped ensure a large, enthusiastic attendance at the event's launch in Lusaka. At the Congress opening address, Zambia's President, Hon. Levy P. Mwanawsa (right) was upbeat about tourism's potential, echoed by the theme "Ethno Tourism: A key to sustainable development and job creation." In this positive vein, he stressed the importance of increasing tourist flow from North America to a wider range of African destinations. The President welcomed all ATA delegates at a sunset reception in the spacious gardens of Government House.

Take your time.  the Zambia Story has lots of photos, links and animations.
Photo (top): ATA delegates taking a time out to catch the spray at Victoria Falls. Above: President greets delegates. Left: H.E. Martin Brennan, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia; Ms. Mira Berman, Executive Director, ATA; Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania, and ATA President; H.E. Levy P. Mwanawasa, President, Republic of Zambia.

H.E. Martin Brennan, United States Ambassador to Zambia hosted ATA delegates at the beautiful embassy complex in Lusaka. He too expressed confidence that, if managed properly, tourism can be a catalyst to better infrastructure development and conservation. He believes that tourism should be seen as more than just an income generator, but as a tool for transforming the world into a global village. Brennan was pleased to announce that the U.S. government will provide $9 million for natural resource management in Kafue National Park and Zambezi-Chobe area, including a program for training Africans in tourist services.

Front and center all week, as Congress Chairman and principal host, was Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa, MP, Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, who stated, "Our government's focus for economic development includes strategic awareness that tourism's benefits will not trickle down to the poor unless they become the participating custodians themselves through education and training." He later added, "We need to heavily invest in this very competitive industry to improve our market share if tourism is our economy's growth area, it deserves priority in terms of resource allocation because it does not only consume but generates resources and wealth." His Co-Chair, H.E. Prof. Mwelwa C. Musambachime, Zambia's permanent representative to the United Nations tackled the timely topics as moderator for "Community-based Tourism as a Driving Force," which focused on cross-ministerial and intergovernmental measures for fostering sustainable development.

ATA President Accentuates the Positive
Why does Africa continue to attract business and tourism despite negative influences, empty rumors empty chit chat from the media's talking heads? "Hosting the congress in Zambia is testimony to Africa's stability in the face of current global conflicts and the (tourism) industry's weakened situation, " said ATA President, Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, Minister of Tourism and Natural Resources for Tanzania. "We are all here because we are optimistic about the future of global travel, specifically to the continent of Africa. ATA member countries, representing most of Africa's major tourism destinations, are recognized by the more sophisticated traveler as among the world's most safe and stable countries to visit at this time," Meghji continued.

Photo : Hon. Meghji (above) with IIPT President Louis D'Amore. Below: Mira Berman, Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa, Hon. Zakia Meghji and Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, 1st Vice President, ATA.

Continuing on a high note, ATA Executive Director Mira Berman of New York spoke of industry partnerships with the World Tourism Organization, United States Tour Operators Association, International Ecotourism Society, American Society of Travel Agents, Corporate Council for Africa, Association of Retail Travel Agents, RETOSA (Southern Africa) and SATH (Handicapped Travelers). Berman touched on key ATA projects, such as Bermuda's African Diaspora Heritage Trail, and Africa's Second IIPT-ATA Peace through Tourism Conference in early December, 2003.

Zambia's Partnership in ATA, SADC and RETOSA
With RETOSA playing an active role in promoting tourism from North America to Southern Africa's 14 nations,
it is significant that the ATA Congress in Zambia set the stage for other key events. One of the most important venues of the year is the (SADC) Heads of State Summit in August. Africa Travel Magazine's SADC Summit edition features a 32-page Zambia Tourism insert featuring Congress highlights and photos. The Zambia supplement will be expanded in future issues as ATA strengthens its bonds with the tourism industry in Zambia, a staunch supporter since 1981.

Banking on Success
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) hosted the inaugural dinner, where the bank's Executive Manager J.H. de Botha, stated, "The DBSA recognizes the essential contribution tourism can make towards economic and social development and the alleviation of poverty. Our services to the sector can be grouped into five categories ... finance, agency services, consultancies, technical assistance, information and knowledge, with projects spread throughout South Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. We remain committed to tourism infrastructure development in support of improving the quality of life for the people of Southern Africa." Photo: Mira Berman, Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa, Mr. J.H. de Botha and Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji,

The USA-Africa Tourism Marketing Menu
Advice on "Marketing to the North American Travel Trade and Consumers" has always been a hot topic at ATA events, and the Zambia version generated an unusual amount of response. As moderator, ATA First Vice President Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey (left) called upon chapter presidents, with Marlene Melton of New York Chapter leading the way, followed by James Brock (Atlanta), Jerry W. Bird, (Canada), and Chester Spears Chicago). Of particular note, was the move to "twin” the African and North American chapters as a move towards cooperative and combined marketing efforts in future (details to come). And the African member countries are following suit. Taking a bold new initiative in the direction of Travel and Tourism, Zambia's government has adopted an ambitious five year plan. One of its chief aims is for tourism to generate nearly half of the country's revenue. Therefore, high on the agenda is the tourism infrastructure, such as airports, highways and secondary roads. We spent an hour with the Lusaka International Airport Authority and were impressed with the plans for creating a major hub in Southern Africa. To make it all work, marketing ranks high, with a New York Office of ZNTB in the plans, advertising seminars, and participation by “The Real Africa”at key events, such as the World Travel Market, ITB Berlin and North America's top venues.

Continued on next page: Awards, Gala Events and Comments

Most photos in this section are by Robert Eilets. Others are by Muguette Goufrani and Karen Hoffman.

For more information on the Africa Travel Association, (212) 447-1926, fax (212) 725-8253, e-mail africatravelasso@aol.com