Berber Wedding

Hands Across the Ocean
The ATA Story by Jerry W. Bird

On many doors throughout the Kingdom of Morocco, visitors will discover an ornamental hand, crafted in silver or brass - a welcoming symbol to one and all. The stylized fingers on each beautifully engraved hand relate to five historic keys to enduring peace and harmony among neighbors. What a fitting symbol for the Africa Travel Association, with its hands-on, do it now approach - an effort that's winning new friends and enhancing Africa's image around the globe. This ongoing, positive initiative has fostered powerful travel industry alliances as depicted by the logos at the top of this page. With U.S. and world wide distribution of Africa Travel Magazine's new "Grand Tour Editions," ATA expects to generate sharp increases in tourism from North America and beyond. Countries such as South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Morocco, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Benin, Guinea and others that have hosted ATA congresses and symposia in recent years will each have a Grand Tour Edition.

These exclusive editions will be available to the travel trade on a complimentary basis at a year round series of expos and conferences. In addition, host countries of ATA events can now purchase bulk copies of their specific Grand Tour Editions at one third of retail for resale or promotional purposes internationally. Speaking of numbers, our first three shows in 2004 topped the 50,000 mark in attendance, including the travel trade and public. Much more is on the way from now throughout ATA's Jubilee Year. The five keys to future success of ATA and your reason for joining our ranks are: (1) Our High Profile (2) Our World Class Events and Partnerships (3) Our Economic Focus (4) Our Multi-Lingual Capacity and (5) Our Business to Business Network.

How high profile is ATA?
You can find out in less than 30 seconds. Open Google or Yahoo, America's favorite search engines, and enter two simple words, "Africa "Travel. " Our powerful site was #1 web site from over 5 million entries in a February 2004 search for those words, and usually ranks in the top three. Matched against government and corporate sites with unlimited resources, large staffs and high paid computer-internet gurus, you'd hardly expect a nonprofit site like ATA to register a blip, right? Wrong! ATA web pages appear at or near the top of the search list on a wide variety of Africa related topics. For example, try "Africa Fashions."

With over 50 thousand page views weekly on our site, an amazing average visitor session length of 10 minutes, and up to 32 thousand hits daily, the results speak volumes. Our magazine's online subscriptions come from every continent. Why such on-line popularity? The answer is simple - "positive content, over 1,000 pages of it. North Americans, who form most of our readers and viewers are hungry for current, upbeat news about Africa, as opposed to the distorted images projected by the mass media. What they see on the ATA site is proof that our approach is on target- a goal of which our founder, Murray Vidockler would be justly proud.

1: HIGH PROFILE- How does it benefit Travel Agents?
Being a full-fledged association with solid connections and a successful track record allows Executive Director Mira Berman of New York and the Board of Directors, led by its President, Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa, Tourism Minister of Zambia, and 1st Vice President Dr. Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey of Henderson Tours in the Washington, DC area, to offer a diverse menu. The benefits of Africa Travel Association's new program for travel agents and counselors seeking to enhance their income, key contacts and experience in the industry include:

• Fatter Paychecks: Discovering new ways to profit from higher commissions of long-haul travel and longer stays.

• Africa-Oriented Seminars - targeting special interest markets.

• Focused Networking: Developing Top 100 circle of contacts.

• Industry Alliances. Getting to know tourist boards, hoteliers, airline officials and ground operators.

• Real Life Experiences: Seeing more of Africa's culture and customs first hand.

• Education and Training: Learning about Africa's destinations and tourism products.

• Marketing Savvy: Targeting specialized markets, such as African Americans, seniors, corporate, educational and adventure travel.

• Social Networking: Attending congresses and symposia in Africa and worldwide. Broaden your horizons at chapter functions.

Photo- Africa Travel Magazine was in high demand at Africa Travel Association's exhibit in the Adventures in Travel Expo, Javits Center, New York City, January 2004. Over 22,000 attended this event, and another 15,000 visited IATOS Outside Travel Show in Chicago. In 2004, fifteen major trade shows are on our agenda.

WORLD CLASS EVENTS: A popular link on ATA's website is "ATA EVENTS," where the Association is winning its high profile. Having powerful decision-makers at the helm is a prime reason. Did you know that the Africa Travel Association's Board of Directors usually includes no less than eight (8) African Tourism Ministers? ATA's Events Calendar reads like a CNN World News Report:

UGANDA, EAST AFRICA: The latest in a round of good news is Uganda's hosting of the ATA 8th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium in Kampala, October 24-29, 2004.A new ATA Chapter wAS launched at that time.

KENYA, EAST AFRICA: Preparations are underway for ATA's 30th Anniversary Jubilee Year, with the ATA 30th Congress in Nairobi, Kenya (May 15-20, 2005).

CAMEROON, CENTRAL AFRICA: Cameroon hosted ATA for the second time, with the ATA 29th International Marketing Congress in Douala, May 2-7, 2004. The theme of ATA's last event in Cameroon, 2001 was "Ecotourism, Culture and Investment," echoing a desire to put business and income generation for African countries high on the agenda. Statistics by Webtrends for show that "The Cameroon Story" is one of the most read page on ATA's 1600-page web site. Cameroon's profile in North America is being greatly enhanced by its involvement with ATA.

ZAMBIA, SOUTHERN AFRICA. As President of ATA, Zambia's Tourism Minister, Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa and his team are preparing to host the ATA -IIPT 3rd Africa Peace Through Tourism conference in February, 2005.In May 2003, the Republic of Zambia hosted the ATA 28th Annual International Marketing Congress. It is ATA's first ever two venue Congress, hosted by Lusaka, the capital, and Livingstone at Victoria Falls.

TANZANIA & ZANZIBAR, EAST AFRICA. IN December 200s, this united c ountry staged two key events, starting with the ATA 7th Ecotourism Symposium in Zanzibar and the 2nd Africa IIPT Peace Through Tourism Conference in Dar es Salaam. ATA as a founding coalition partner co-host the program, along with the Corporate Council for Africa. Last year was designated as the International Year of Ecotourism, and ATA was in the forefront with major events in that important category.

GUINEA, WEST AFRICA. The First Annual Festival of Guinea was held April 24 -30, 2004 in Conakry, with USA bookings by Brock Tours of Atlanta ( Our 27th International Congress in Conakry launched that West African country into the mainstream of tourism. Following the congress, ATA Editor Muguette Goufrani toured Guinea, and her Guinea Grand Tour story is available to world media via the web site.

MPUMALANGA, SOUTH AFRICA: Success of the 1st IIPT Africa Peace Through Tourism Conference in partnership with ATA and the Mpumalanga Tourism Authority, in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa, set the stage for this year's event in Tanzania.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, USA. A glowing opportunity arose last year when the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) staged its 1st Travel, Tourism and Gaming Conference and Trade Show in Atlantic City. As a key sponsor, ATA was involved in bringing Africans together with top decision-makers. ATA and Ethiopian Airlines co-sponsored a Marketing Panel on opening day, which featured Executive Director Mira Berman as moderator and Dr. Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, Henderson Tours, ATA 1st VP, H.E. Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago, Tanzania's Ambassador to the UN, Tewolde Mariam , Regional Director, North America of Ethiopian Airlines, and Sunit Sanghrajka, Big Five Tours and Expeditions.

MOROCCO, NORTH AFRICA: As a grande finale, ATA held its 7th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium in Fes, Morocco last December. One of the best attended functions from the USA market its success was due to attractive air fares by Royal Air Maroc, combined with strong support by Mr. Abdelhamid Boudemiene, Director for the Americas of the Morocco National Tourist Office and Benachir Akli, President of Olive Branch Tours, and ATA's Casablanca Chapter. Keynote speaker James MacGregor, stated in summary," this event proves that Ecotourism is no longer a fringe market."

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: ATA's involvement with Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) as a founding coalition partner brought the association to Europe in February 2003 as a co-host. The Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, President, represented ATA as a keynote speaker. This Second Global Summit of IIPT was held at the same site as the famous Reagan-Gorbachev Summit that led to the end of the cold war.

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* ATA Events

1976 - Nairobi, Kenya
1977 - Abidjan, Ivory Coast
1978 - Sousse/Monastir, Tunisia
1979 - Tangier, Morocco
1980 - Libreville, Gabon
1981 - Lusaka, Zambia
1982 - Lome, Togo
1983 - Cairo, Egypt
1984 - Banjul, The Gambia
1985 - Nairobi, Kenya
1986 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA
1987 - Douala, Cameroon
1988 - Harare, Zimbabwe
1989 - New York, NY, USA
1990 - Casablanca, Morocco
1991 - Cairo, Egypt

1992 - Cote d'Ivoire
1992 - Saly / Dakar, Senegal - First Ecotourism Symposium

1993 - Lusaka, Zambia
1993 - Best of Africa: USA Tour

1994 - Accra, Ghana
1994 - South Africa - 2nd Ecotourism Symposium

1995 - Nairobi, Kenya, 20th Anniversary
996 - Windhoek, Namibia

1996 - Marrakech, Morocco- 3rd Ecotourism Symposium

1997 - Cotonou, Benin

1998 - Arusha, Tanzania

1999 - Accra, Ghana

2000 - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2000 - Abuja, Nigeria- 4th Ecotourism Symposium

2001 - Cape Town, South Africa
2001- Yaounde, Cameroon - 5th Ecotourism Symposium

2002- Conakry, Guinée
2002 - Fez, Morocco - 6th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium

2003 - Lusaka and Livingstone, Zambia
2003 - Zanzibar, Tanzania -
8th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium
2003 - Dar es Sallam, Tanzania -2nd Africa Conference on
Peace Through Tourism

2004 - Douala, Cameroon
2004 - Kampala, Uganda - ATA 8th Ecotourism Symposium

2005 - Lusaka, Zambia- Second Africa Conference on Peace Through Tourism
2005 -
Nairobi, Kenya - 30th Jubilee Congress More->
2005 - Luanda, Angola - 9th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium

2006 - Lilongwe, Malawi
2006 - Lagos, Nigeria/ Lake Region - 10th Cultural Ecotourism Symposium

2007- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2007- South Africa - 11th Cultural Ecotourism Symposium
1995 - Best of Africa USA-Canada Tour.