ATA Congress News & Views Volume 1

19 May

IN THIS ISSUE

Welcome to ATA Congress News & Views

News

* ATA Opens 35th Annual Congress in The Gambia
* Africa Union and the Africa Travel Association Sign Memorandum of Understanding
* ATA Introduces Business-to-Business Exchange for Buyers and Sellers
* The Gambia Opens Africa Marketplace
* ATA President and United Republic of Tanzania Host Welcome Dinner
* Next Issue

The Gambia Congress in the Media

WELCOME TO ATA CONGRESS NEWS AND VIEWS

Welcome to The Gambia! This is the first issue of ATA Gambia Congress News & Views, the e-newsletter of ATA’s 35th Annual Congress, which opened on Monday at the Sheraton Hotel Spa & Resort in The Gambia. This e-newsletter is being sent in conjunction with our Facebook Fan Page. The e-newsletter, as well as other online content about the Congress, is prepared by the ATA Communications Team, and by Chi Lo, The Gambia Congress media coordinator. We look forward to you bringing you exciting news from The Gambia.

NEWS

ATA Opens 35th Annual Congress in The Gambia
THE GAMBIA, Monday, May 17 –
The Africa Travel Association (ATA), in cooperation with The Gambian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Gambian Hotel Association, and other Gambian stakeholders, opened its 35th Annual Congress at the Sheraton Hotel Spa and Resort in The Gambia, approximately 20 kilometers outside Banjul.

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the President of the Republic of the Gambia and Commander in Chief of the Gambia Armed Forces, Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yaya A. J. J. Jammeh, Gambian Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Ajaratou Isatou Njie-Saidy, said the hosting of the congress by The Gambia, for the second time in ATA’s history, makes the country stand out “conspicuously as a unique destination and tourist haven.”

The Vice President also assured the government’s support to the tourism industry. “The President is highly committed to travel and tourism and hopes to turn the West African community into Africa’s leading destination.”

Under the banner “Discover Africa’s Genuine Warmth,” the ATA-Gambia event brings together tourism ministers and more than 300 travel industry professionals from across Africa, Europe and North America for four days to explore the latest issues facing the travel trade industry, learn about “Destination Gambia,” and advocate for increased resources to the tourism industry.

The opening ceremony also included remarks from the following distinguished speakers.

• Honorable Minister of Tourism and Culture of The Gambia, Mrs. Fatou Mas Jobe Njie

• Honorable Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of The United Republic of Tanzania, President of the Africa Travel Association, Member of Parliament, Mrs. Shamsa Mwangunga;

• Executive Director of the Africa Travel Association, Mr. Edward Bergman;

• Chair of the Gambia Hotel Association and Chair of the Congress Host Country Committee, Mr. Alieu Secka;

• Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Africa and the Indian Ocean, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Ms. Martine Boettcher;

• Director General, Gambia Tourism Authority, Ms. Binta Jobe.

Africa Union and Africa Travel Association Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Working Together to Support Africa’s Tourism Development
THE GAMBIA, Monday, May 17 – The Africa Travel Association (ATA) announced today the joint commitment with the Africa Union to promote travel and tourism to Africa as a means to contributing to the socio-economic development of Africa. The announcement was made at the opening ceremony of ATA’s 35th Annual Congress in The Gambia that was attended by almost 400 dignitaries, delegates and guests.

In a memorandum of understanding signed by Honorable Shamsa Mwangunga, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania and ATA’s President, and Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, Africa Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, the two organizations undertake a commitment to develop collaboration in the area of travel and tourism promotion.

Delivering his opening remarks, Edward Bergman, Executive Director of the Africa Travel Association said, “By partnering with the Africa Union, the possibilities that lie ahead of us in tourism promotion to and within Africa are endless as we work together as partners to market “Destination Africa.” He continued, “I cannot imagine a better place to announce this exciting development than here in The Gambia.”

In a letter to the congress delegates, the AU Commissioner wrote “I wish to inform you that we have achieved a significant milestone in the relationship between the AUC and ATA. We have just concluded and signed an MOU that enables us to work closely together to advance Africa’s agenda in the development of its tourism resources. This cooperation is very important especially considering the fact that Africa has yet to put in place a continental body responsible for tourism matters.”

In the spirit of the MOU, the African Union Commission through its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) program introduced a tourism action plan. The plan addressed a number of areas for possible cooperation, including marketing and promotion, research and development, promoting investment, mobilizing financial resources, and strengthening human resources.

The MOU provides an overall framework for collaboration in these areas, which are priorities for both the Africa Union and the Africa Travel Association.

The AU Commissioner also praised The Gambia for its efforts to promote tourism to Africa and for hosting ATA’s annual hallmark event. “My gratitude goes to the President and people of The Gambia, a member state of the Africa Union, for hosting the Annual Congress meeting and for the commitment to develop Africa’s tourism industry. The Republic of Gambia is one of African countries flag bearers in promoting this continent as an important tourist destination to the world. The ATA World Congress has certainly chosen an excellent venue for its important business of the year.”

For more information on ATA, please visit: www.africatravelassociation.org.

For more information about the African Union, please visit: www.africa-union.org/

ATA Introduces Business-to-Business Exchange for Buyers and Sellers
THE GAMBIA, Monday, May 17
–The ATA Business to Business Exchange for Buyers & Sellers will be held on Thursday, May 20, 2010, 12:15 pm to 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm. The exchange gives travel trade buyers (travel agents/group planners) and sellers (travel wholesalers, tour operators, travel suppliers, destinations) the unique opportunity for business exchange, relationship building, and networking. Delegates can sign up for 15-minute, pre-scheduled, one-on-one appointments with travel experts and professionals, including hoteliers, airlines, destination marketing companies (DMC’s), ground handlers, tour operators, and wholesalers.

The Gambia Opens Africa Marketplace
THE GAMBIA, Monday, May 17
–The Gambia marketplace opened today at the Congress, offering offers exhibitors from The Gambia and other African countries an opportunity to spotlight their products such as arts and crafts and clothing during the congress, and the delegates an opportunity to support local artists, artisans, and vendors. The marketplace is open in the courtyard adjacent to the congress venue from Monday to Thursday.

ATA President and United Republic of Tanzania Host Welcome Dinner
THE GAMBIA, Monday, May 17 –
In what has become an ATA congress tradition over the last few years, Shamsa Mwangunga (MP), ATA President and Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania hosted a special evening of dinner and dancing held at the five-star Ocean Bay Hotel this year.

In her remarks, Honorable Mwangunga said “As many of you may be aware, Tourism is among the fastest growing industries in the world today. In this regard and owing to its diversity and multiplier effect, many nations including my country, Tanzania, consider tourism as central to national economic development and key to critical thrust in poverty reduction. In addition, tourism brings about regional balance and enhances international peace and understanding. I therefore wish to underscore the fact that, across Africa, the tourism industry continues to play a key role in economic development, poverty reduction and promotion of peace.”

During the celebratory evening, the Tanzanian delegation showcased Tanzania, the land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti, as one of Africa’s premier destination. Minister Mwangunga and her Gambian counterpart, Minister of Tourism and Culture of The Gambia, Fatou Mas Jobe Njie, also exchanged gifts in a show of mutual hospitality and friendship.

GAMBIA CONGRESS IN THE MEDIA
Financial Times posted an announcement about the congress and a link to ATA’s website in its World Diary on May 17, 2010). See http://www.ft.com/world/weekahead

TODAY Newspaper – Online Edition
African Tourism Stakeholders Meeting in Banjul

Agence de Presse Africaine
The Gambia Hosts 35th congress of African Travel Association

AFRIQUE AVENIR
The Gambia Hosts 35th congress of African Travel Association…

Africa News
Gambia hosts African Travel Association Congress…

Jollof News
The African Travel Association Annual Congress Commences in Banjul…

Vanguard/allAfrica.com
Tourism Stakeholders Storm Gambia for ATA Congress

NEXT ISSUE
* ATA Delegates Visit James Island
* US Embassy and Coco Ocean Host Special Evening
* And much more…

To view the program, visit www.africatravelassociation.org

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