20 May

Volume 1.2, Wednesday, May 20, 2009
updated Friday, June 4, 2009

* Welcome to ATA Congress News & Views
* News

This is the second issue of ATA Congress News & Views, the e-newsletter of ATA’s 34th Annual Congress, which opened two days ago at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt.

Today, we bring you some news from our Congress, as well as some pictures from some of our workshops.


ATA 34th Annual Congress Opens in Cairo on May 18
The Africa Travel Association (ATA), in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egypt Tourist Authority, opened its 34th Annual Congress in Cairo two days ago. Under the banner of “Connecting Destination Africa,” the world event brings together current tourism ministers from Africa and the region’s leading figures from the travel industry to promote travel, tourism and transport to Africa and to strengthen intra-Africa relationships to make this happen. Held at the Conrad Cairo Hotel, the ATA Congress was hosted by the Honorable Zoheir Garranah, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Amr El-Ezaby, Chairman, Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA). Click here for the press release. VIPs at Cairo Congress

African Union Sends Message to ATA Delegates
Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim, Commissioner of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, sent a letter to the ATA congress delegates, which was read during the opening ceremony. Click here to read the letter.

ATA Introduces African Bazaar
ATA introduced a marketplace for buyers and spellers specializing in Africa at the Congress on Tuesday, May 19. Titled, “African Bazaar,” the marketplace provided a forum for more than 25 sellers and 80 buyers to hold one-on-one appointments.African Bazaar

ATA’s Young Professionals Network Meets with Egyptian High-School Students
On Wednesday, ATA’s Young Professionals Network met with 80 Egyptian students at the American School, Dar El Tarbiah School in Cairo, where they asked each other questions that helped combat negative stereotypes such as how they perceive the "other." The YPN forum was coordinated by Dr. Cathy De Leo and NYU student Levald Thomas. Kalimah Abioto, one of the US participants, filmed the student exchange, which will be available on her website,

ATA Screens New Documentary on Youssou N’Dour
ATA also premiered the new film I Bring What I Love: Youssou N’dour, a music-infused documentary about how one man’s voice could inspire change in Senegal and across Africa. The film chronicles N’dour, a devout Sufi Muslim, as he releases a deeply personal and religious album called Egypt in hope of promoting a more tolerant face of Islam. Jack Turner, the Executive Producer, introduced the film to a captivated audience of Africa enthusiasts. Click here for more on the documentary.

Program Spotlights
Honorable Shamsa Mwangunga (MP), ATA President and Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, opened the ATA event on Monday, May 18, and introduced Amr El-Ezaby, Chairman of the Egypt Tourist Authority, who said the ATA Congress presented an extraordinary opportunity for people to share information and ideas on developing and marketing the tourism products of Africa.

Opening Ceremony Panel

“Until 20 or 30 years ago, Egypt was a one product destination: the classic Egypt tour. But in the 1980’s, Egypt started to diversify its product in order to keep its competitive edge, by developing resort tourism on the Red Sea, desert tourism and cultural tourism. Demand increased and so did infrastructure from 18,000 rooms in 1982 to 210,000 rooms in 2008. Today, Egypt is developing high-end resorts to appeal to the luxury market.”

Edward Bergman, ATA Executive Director, also spoke at the opening ceremony and shared the letter from Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim, Commissioner of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, with the congress delegates.

The Egypt Ministry of Tourism also hosted two special workshops focusing on Egypt’s experience over the last few decades as one of the world’s most popular destinations. The high proflie speakers included Hisham Zaazou, First Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, who spoke about Egypt’s vast and diverse travel offerings, illustrating the success of Egypt’s diversification strategy with continued growth of tourism arrivals despite the current global economic downturn. (Incoming arrivals increased 17% in 2008.)

Hisham Zazzou, First Assistant to the Minister, Ministry of Tourism Arab Republic of Egypt

In a session chaired by Amr El-Ezaby, Chairman of the Egypt Tourist Authority, travel operators, Amr Badr, Head of Abercrombie & Kent, and Karim El-Minabawy, Vice Chairman of Emco Travel, discussed setbacks Egypt’s tourism has faced over the years, and how these challenges were met and overcome.
Workshop 2: Rebirth of Destination Egypt

The first day of workshops wrapped up with a special presentation on the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Sindiswa Nhlumayo, South Africa’s Deputy Director-General, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, shared South Africa’s perspective on the premier sporting event. Ray Whelan, the leading representative of MATCH, the service company appointed by FIFA to handle hospitality and ticketing for the FIFA World Cups in 2010 and 2014, spoke about how the mega sporting event, the largest to date on the continent, can benefit all of Africa. Rui Lisboa, a representative of the Angolan Ministry of Affairs spoke about the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations and a representative from Cameroon spoke about the importance of soccer to the nation.

Workshop 3 Panelists

Honorable Mohamed Zoheir Garranah, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and the host of the ATA congress, invited delegates to the Salah el-Din Citadel for a festive evening, including whirling dervish dancers, a musical performance and Egyptian cuisine. Against the backdrop of Cairo, the evening at the Citadel provided delegates with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy Egypt at its finest.



The second day began with a discussion on hotels in Africa. Moderated by Matewos Gebremariam, Ethiopia’s Head of Standardization & Facilitation Department, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the discussion focused on formats that work in Africa, as well as trends. The high level panelists included Omar Carrera, Executive Assistant Manager, Sheraton Addis, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Glenn Carroll, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, CHI Hotels and Resorts, Malta and Amr Kallini, General Manager, Movenpick Hotel, Media City.
Workshop 4: Hotel Market Trends: New Uses and Approaches

The next workshop, which was chaired by Tanzania’s Honorable Halima Mamuya (MP), focused on advocating for “Destination Africa.” Dr. Yaw Nyarko, Director of the Africa House at New York University, asked the panelists to speak about the need to create a collaborative working document that states why the tourism industry is important for Africa with the support of statistical analysis. Besa Muwele, Principal Statistician at Central Statistical Office of the African Development Bank spoke about the Bank’s efforts in this direction. Sarah Graham Mann, an Adjunct Professor at New York University spoke about the American market and suggested the ways African tour operators can attract the US marketplace.
Workshop 5: The Outlook and Opportunity for Advocacy and Entrepreneurship for Tourism in Africa

Karen Hoffman, ATA Board Member and Senior Vice President of the Bradford Group led a discussion on how ATA members can use social networking tools, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Blogging in attracting new audiences. The presenters included Emily Bayley, ATA Member Services and Development and New York University student, Llyod Murray, President, Palace Travel Inc., Philadelphia, Omar Carrera, Executive Assistant Manager, Sheraton Addis, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Gregg Truman, ATA Board Member and Vice President of Marketing, South African Airways.
Workshop 6: Interactive & Dynamic Media & Internet - New Tools for the Travel Industry

The day wrapped up with a workshop on tourism industry trends. Peter J. Mwenguo, Managing Director, Tanzania Tourist Board moderated the panel of leading experts who provided a bird’s-eye view of the current and future marketplace. Presenters included Dr. Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, ATA Board Member and President of Henderson Associates/Henderson Travel Service, spoke about the upcoming African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference in Dar es Salaam Tanzania in October, 2009. Jani Nayar, Executive Coordinator, Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality, spoke about accommodating special needs travelers and tourism across Africa. Ogo Sow, ATA Board Member and Advisor on Diaspora Affairs spoke about the important role the Africa Diaspora can play in the tourism industry. Shahinaz Reza Ahmed, CEO, Education for Employment Foundation in Egypt spoke about efforts to promote employment opportunities in Egypt through collaboration, and Munzali Dantata, Director General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Nigeria spoke about educational travel opportunities.
Workshop 7: Presentations on Destination Africa - Trends & Cross-Cutting Issues

At the end of the second day, congress delegates were invited by the large Tanzanian delegation to the Tanzanian President’s Dinner and 9th Annual Awards ceremony, one of the congress’s most popular events, which took place at the Four Seasons Hotel. As the host of the evening, Honorable Shamsa Mwangunga, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, presented awards to individuals and organizations who have helped promote Destination Tanzania over the last year. She also led the guests in an evening of Tanzanian food, dance and celebration. Click here for the press release.



The third day of programming began on Wednesday, May 20, with a workshop on Africa’s travel products. Ambassador Daudi Mwakawago, ATA board member, moderated the session that explored Africa’s diverse travel products, from culture and heritage tourism to youth travel and from fashion to sea and sun. Presenters included Ethiopia’s Honorable Tadelech Dalecho, State Minister for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Patricia Brown, ATA Board Member and President of KTI Express Travel in Sierra Leone, Chief Margaret Bolanle Idowu Fabiyi, ATA Board Member and President of WEBISCO, International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs and Tourism, David Omboga, Kenya ATA Chapter president and Eliseo Neuman, Director of the Africa Institute.


Workshop 8 Panel

Then, congress delegates heard from representatives of leading Africa-based airlines about the present situation and future plans of airlines to and in Africa. Moderated by Doris Wooten, ATA First Vice President, the high-lever panel included Ashraf Osman, General Manager, Sales, EgyptAir, Gregg Truman, ATA Board Member and Vice President of Marketing at South African Airways, Cornelia Wilson-Hunter, Manager of the Safe Skies for Africa Program at US Department of Transportation, and two representatives from Afriqiyah Airways Monder Abuuhalala and Abdulrauf Sagati,



The final workshop focused on how to market “Destination Africa,” specifically what professionals need to know when doing business. Eran Ketter, a media strategist and researcher, spoke about the importance of marketing and branding in today’s cluttered environment; Lisa Simon, President and the National Tour Association (NTA) spoke about the increasing desire of North American tour operators to bring travelers and tourists to Africa and what professionals need to know when doing business in the marketplace. Dr. Adam Wu, Chief Operating Officer of China Business Network (CBN) gave insights on how to reach out to China’s marketplace.

The congress ended with a full-day tour in Cairo sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism. Highlights included a visit to the Egyptian National Museum, the Giza Pyramids and the Khan El-Khalili market. Organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority, the host country day will conclude with a cruise on the Nile and a gala dinner at the Nile Maxim Floating restaurant.



To learn more about the Congress’ official carrier and accommodations, click here

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