Sep 28, 2010

Ten African Leaders discuss need to raise profile of tourism on Africa's economic agenda

TEN AFRICAN LEADERS DISCUSS NEED TO RAISE PROFILE OF TOURISM ON AFRICA’S ECONOMIC AGENDA AT THE AFRICA TRAVEL ASSOCIATION’S FIFTH ANNUAL PRESIDENTIAL FORUM ON TOURISM

Nearly 300 Guests Attend Event with a Record Twenty African Countries Represented; ATA President Calls on all African Countries to Join Africa’s Leading Travel Trade Association

New York, N.Y., September 24, 2010 – Ten African tourism leaders gathered at New York University on Wednesday to discuss the need to raise the profile of tourism on Africa’s economic agenda. The event was organized by the Africa Travel Association (ATA) and hosted by New York University’s Africa House as world leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

Program participants included leaders from Benin, Burundi, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, and Tanzania, along with senior representatives from the African Union and the World Bank’s Africa Region. CNN Chief Business Correspondent and Host of Your $$$$ Ali Velshi moderated the event.

Newly elected ATA President and The Gambia Tourism Minister Fatou Mas-Njie Jobe called on African states to work together and with ATA to “make tourism to Africa easier, safer, competitive and a rewardingly richer experience that affords the traveler, tourist or investor with immense opportunities to savor the diversity of Africa.” To make this happen, she invited all African states to join ATA and highlighted the need for African states to create joint ventures, partnerships and collaborative efforts.

Almost 300 people attended the event, including representatives from the travel and tourism industry, the diplomatic community, and NYU faculty and students, as well as representatives from the non profit sector. More than twenty media members attended ATA’s signature U.S. event.

"The Presidential Forum brings together a diverse group of people from around the world, who all share a common interest in Africa and tourism,” said Edward Bergman, ATA Executive Director. “Together, they have the ability to grow the sector and to increase the number of tourism arrivals and investment on the African continent.”

Dr. Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, participated in this year’s program, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between ATA and the AU in May. Dr. Ibrahim spoke about the need for African nations to work together to achieve a competitive edge in the global tourism market. She also emphasized the multi-sectoral nature of tourism and the need for cross-sectoral cooperation. “[Tourism] players need to be open minded and ready to collaborate with various parties in other fields in order to develop competitive products and cost-effective packages,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “The AU will always be ready to work with ATA and all the stakeholders in order to speed up the development of this important industry.”

African leaders who participated in the roundtable discussion on tourism included:– Ten African tourism leaders gathered at New York University on Wednesday to discuss the need to raise the profile of tourism on Africa’s economic agenda. The event was organized by the Africa Travel Association (ATA) and hosted by New York University’s Africa House as world leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

African leaders who participated in the roundtable discussion on tourism included:

  • H.E. Gervais Rufyikiri Second Vice President, Republic of Burundi
  • H.E. Excellency Jean-Marie Ehouzou Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Benin
  • Hon. Minister Sabah Zita Okaikoi Minister of Tourism, Republic of Ghana

  • Hon. Ken Lipenga Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Republic of Malawi

  • Hon. Yassir Zenagui Minister of Tourism & Handicrafts, Kingdom of Morocco

  • Hon. Jerolinmek M. Piah, Deputy Minister for Public Affairs, Republic of Liberia
  • Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, Managing Director, Tanzania Tourist Board, United Republic of Tanzania.
The World Bank’s Vice President of the Africa Region, Obiageli Ezekwesili, delivered the closing remarks, highlighting that Africa is on the edge of a slow economic rebound with tourism as a key sector of growth. She also stressed the importance of a “healthy competitive spirit” among Africa nations in order to keep Africa’s tourism industry competitive.

The Tanzania Tourist Board presented three awards during the program. Kent Redding, President of Adventures in Africa, received the Tour Operator Award Southern/Western Circuit. Rumit Mehta, President of Immersion Journeys received the Tour Operator Award for Product Development, and Dave Sirulnick and Justin Wilkes of News & Docs, MTV received the Media

Photos are available on ATA’s Facebook Fanpage. Please visit
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Africa-Travel-Association/92120452544?v=photos#!/album.php?aid=228974&id=92120452544

About the Africa Travel Association’s Annual Presidential Forum on Tourism
Established in 2006 by ATA in cooperation with NYU’s Africa House, ATA's Annual Presidential Forums on Tourism bring together Africa’s leading tourism stakeholders—heads of state, prime ministers, vice presidents, foreign affairs and tourism ministers—to discuss the status, power and potential of tourism and to raise the profile of Africa’s tourism on the world’s agenda. The event takes place at New York University on the occasion of the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City every September.

About the Africa Travel Association (ATA)
The Africa Travel Association (ATA) was established as an international travel industry trade association in 1975 with a mission to promote travel and tourism to Africa, and to strengthen intra-Africa partnerships. As the world’s premier travel industry trade association, ATA provides services to a broad range of members including: tourism, diaspora, culture, and sports ministers, tourism boards, airlines, hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators, travel trade media, public relations firms, consulting companies, non-profit organizations, businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, and other organizations engaged in tourism promotion.

For more information, visit http://www.africatravelassociation.org/