NTA and ATA: A Renewed Partnership

30 May

From Left to Right: Nigel Vere Nicoll (ATTA), Lisa Simon (NTA), Hon. Fatou Mas Jobe Njie (President of ATA; Minister of Tourism and Culture of The Gambia), Dr. Elham Ibrahim (Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission), Karen Hoffman (Bradford Group; First Vice President of ATA International Board of Directors), Edward Bergman (ATA)

On Thursday, May 26th, Africa Travel Association and National Tour Association renewed their Memorandum of Understanding to work together to promote Travel and Tourism to Africa and advance the missions of each other’s organizations. President of NTA, Lisa Simon participated in an educational session called “Partners in Promoting Tourism to Africa” with Executive Director of ATA, Edward Bergman and Managing Director of London-Based Advancing Tourism to Africa (ATTA), Nigel Vere Nicoll. The panel was moderated by Karen Hoffman, President of the Bradford Group, USA Representative of the Tanzania Tourist Board and the First Vice President of the ATA International Board of Directors. They discussed the importance of strategic partnerships in making progress towards creating a significant positive change in tourism to Africa.

Hon. Fatou Mas Jobe Njie looking as Lisa Simon and Edward Bergman sign the MoU that renews the partnership between NTA and ATA

Ms. Simon also participated in all other Congress events including our day at TICAA (The International Tourism, Cultural Industries and Artistic Crafts Fair) and our Host Country Day trip to the African Renaissance Monument and Goree Island. She told me that a highlight of her trip was the tree planting ceremony at the University of Dakar that offset the carbon footprint of the Congress. I found some time to interview her to get her unique perspective as a representative of tour operators and to hear her thoughts on the next steps for the MoU.

Find an excerpt from the interview below:

RD: How do you connect tour operators with Africa?

LS: When you look at tour operators already working in Africa, they need unique, diverse and customizable products. It is important to educate the operators on product offerings. Companies not working in Africa need to develop face to face relationships with tour operators on the ground in Africa. The way to accomplish this, African Destinations need to bring representatives to Africa to meet with Tour operators in person.

RD: How can we make the ATA Congress more attractive to tour operators?

LS: Firstly, they need education. Secondly, they need to know tour operators in the Destination. Meetings with hoteliers or government officials are helpful, but not what the tour operators are looking for.

RD: What is a concrete action step that can help move the MoU between ATA and NTA forward?

LS: I think the next step is really getting some ATA representation at our Convention in December. We would love to have some ATA members and Board Members at our Convention so we can sit down and discuss what we can do to advance both of our goals. The potential is there, and it will be a multi-year process, but as long as we are committed…we can make some real progress.

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