ATA to convene tourism leaders, others at U.S. Africa seminar on tourism

Africa Travel Association (ATA) has announced that registration for attendees for the seventh annual U.S./Africa seminar on tourism is now open. This year, ATA’s leading travel industry event in the United States will be held on Friday, February 21, 2014, at the Washington, D.C. Convention Centre, a day prior to the Washington Travel & Adventure Show, a two-day consumer expo from February 22-23. Registered seminar participants will receive a complimentary ticket to the travel show.

Co-hosted once again by the African Union Mission to the USA, the seminar offers both the industry and consumers the opportunity to network with fellow travel professionals interested in Africa and to meet the industry’s top decision-makers.
It also offers participants the opportunity to learn about Africa’s 50+ destinations and their diverse services and products in addition to hearing from keynote speakers and industry experts about their strategies for increasing business and the role of tourism in the continent’s economic growth.

“At a time when the world is beginning to recognise the incredible opportunities that Africa offers – with over 50 million people travelling to Africa each year, a growing middle class and some of the world’s fastest growing economies – our tourism seminar could not be timelier,” said Edward Bergman, ATA Executive Director.
“We’re thrilled to partner again with the Travel & Adventure Show and the African Union to organise another successful Africa tourism event.”

The 2014 event sponsors include South African Airways (SAA) and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), who will co-host lunch at the event. As a long-time member of ATA, SAA has participated in the U.S. Africa Tourism Seminar since 2009. During lunch, the airline will update attendees on its latest news, including route changes and enhanced partnerships.

“We are pleased to partner with the Africa Travel Association on their seventh Annual U.S./Africa tourism seminar,” said Todd Neuman, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, North America for South African Airways. “As the leading airline to Africa with daily nonstop flights from Washington Dulles to Dakar, Senegal, and direct service to Johannesburg, South Africa, it is important for us to partner with organisations such as ATA who possess extraordinary knowledge of the continent and the means to brand and promote travel, tourism and transport to and within Africa.”

ATA’s U.S./Africa tourism seminar has become a leading platform for bringing together tourism industry leaders and professionals from both Africa and the USA. It is expected to include government tourism leaders and diplomatic community representatives from Africa, travel agents and tour operators who market, sell and specialise in Africa travel, Diaspora community leaders, non-profit organisations focusing on Africa, travel media, PR agents, and faculty and students.
Representatives from more than twenty African countries are also expected.

Scheduled to be held at the Washington Convention Centre, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the seminar will begin with an opening plenary in which the ATA Executive Director (Edward Bergman) and Ambassador of the African Union Mission to the USA (Ambassador Amina Ali) will deliver welcome remarks.
Then, Deputy Assistant Secretary Bisa Williams of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, who is responsible for economic policy and West Africa, will speak about U.S interest and administration policy in Africa.

After the opening plenary, Mark Preston, who is responsible for Trip Advisor’s destination marketing, will deliver the industry keynote at the event. He will speak about Trip Advisor’s best practices and offerings for both the travel industry and the consumer in his address. The rest of the programme includes Africa specialist-led workshops focused on the diverse products of each sub-region: North, South, East and West.
In addition to SAA and MWAA, seminar sponsors include Expedia and the ATA Mid-Atlantic Chapter in Washington, D.C.

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