With a little less than two weeks until the Africa Travel Association’s (ATA) 35th Annual World Congress begins in Gambia, stakeholders across the tourism spectrum in the West African country are gearing up for ATA’s hallmark event. More than 200 tourism and travel professionals from around the world are expected to attend the four-day event, which will be held at the Sheraton Hotel Resort and Spa from May 17-20, 2010 in Gambia.
According to Alieu Secka, Chair of the Gambia Hotel Association (GHA) and head of the Congress Host Committee, “Gambian tourism stakeholders are thrilled by this opportunity to share with the participants the legendary Gambian hospitality, which has evolved and been refined over the years.”
The congress will engage international delegates in discussions on a broad range of industry topics, such as marketing and branding, niche markets and emerging trends, African Diaspora travel to Africa, hotel standards, responsible tourism, sustainable travel, and hospitality education.
For the second year in a row, the congress will include a marketplace for buyers and sellers specializing in promoting “Destination Africa.” ATA’s Young Professional Network (YPN) will also participate in the event. Delegates will also experience the people and culture of Gambia on a number of tours, including a visit to Albreda and Juffureh, the sites of the Heritage “Roots” trail. Delegates will also participate in networking receptions and gala dinners. Pre- and post-congress trips are also available.
Speakers include representatives from Arik Air, CDC Development Solutions, Expedia Travel, the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Heritage Revival Project, the National Tour Association (NTA), New York University-Africa House, Royal Air Maroc, Span Air, the Travel Foundation, the Tanzania Tourist Board, the Museum of African Art of New York, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the World Bank, and hospitality education programs in the United Kingdom. Representatives from the more than a dozen African countries are also expected to attend the event.
After the congress, delegates are invited to attend the Kanilai International Festival. The two-week festival will showcase and promote the rich cultural heritage of West Africa and include elaborate and diverse cultural performances and celebrations.
Royal Air Maroc is the official airline sponsor of the event, offering special flight rates on a first-come, first-served basis for roundtrip airfare from New York, USA, to Banjul, Gambia, via Casablanca, Morocco. Brussels Air offers special flight rates on a first-come, first-served basis for delegates flying from Europe to Banjul, Gambia, and return.
Additional sponsors include Arik Air, CDC Development Solutions, the Gambia Hotel Association, Span Air, the Tanzania Tourist Board, and the US Embassy in Gambia.
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