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Posted on on January 30th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

January 29, 2009

Contact: ATA Communications
Tel: (212) 447-1357
 info at


Africa Travel Association (ATA) Opens Registration for its Second Annual
U.S.-Africa Tourism Seminar in Washington, D.C. from February 19-20, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2009 – The recent inauguration of President Barack Obama is more than a landmark in America’s political history, it is also an opportunity for the travel and tourism industry to take a more focused approach to increasing visitors and investment in Africa from the U.S.

“All over Africa, we can see how excited everyone is about President Obama’s connection to the continent,” said Edward Bergman, ATA Executive Director. “We have already seen a surge in interest about travel specials to Africa not only to Kenya, where President Obama traces his roots, but also throughout East Africa.”

ATA, the world’s leading global travel trade organization, is gearing up for its Second Annual U.S.-Africa Tourism Seminar. The two-day event takes place at the Washington Convention Center from February 19-20, immediately prior to the Adventures in Travel Expo (ATE). The seminar’s timing and location affords ATA an opportunity to build on the recent historic events, including President Obama’s commitment to service.

With travel to Africa on the rise and an emerging interest in Africa as a culture and heritage destination, Africa is garnering more and more attention from American tourists as one of the world’s premier travel destinations.

Focusing on sports, adventure and diaspora travel and tourism, the seminar will showcase Africa as a top tourism destination from the U.S., as well as a site for investment and business opportunity in one of the world’s fastest growing tourism markets.

Manute Bol, former NBA star and Ethiopian Airlines official spokesperson, will speak about different possibilities for responsible tourism and sports tourism in Africa.

Stephen Hayes, President of the Corporate Council on Africa, and Edward Bergman, among other travel professionals, will speak about tourism policy choices at the opening plenary session.

Sthu Zungu, President of South African Tourism-USA, will speak about travel trends, relating to who is traveling to Africa, why they are going, and what can be improved on the travel front to increase tourism to the continent. Alongside experts in sports tourism in Africa, she will also address how mega sporting events, such as 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa, can be leveraged to increase tourism to and within Africa.

The timely topic of responsible tourism and how the industry and the individual tourist can make a difference in local communities will be explored by senior representatives from the Center for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Africare, and the African Wildlife Foundation.

Senior representatives from the World Bank, IFC (International Finance Corporation), and US Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, will explore entrepreneurship, finance and investment opportunities, as well as travel trends in separate workshops.

South African Airways representatives will participate in a workshop on the growth and modernization of travel to Africa and the growth and modernization of intra-Africa air service. Representatives from other airlines serving Africa and Boeing will also participate in the seminar.

Another workshop on African diaspora tourism will examine the role of the diaspora in changing perceptions of Africa in the US market and emerging African diaspora tourism products, such as cultural and heritage tours. Panelists will also explore how the African diaspora and immigrant communities can serve as Africa’s tourism ambassadors in the U.S. tourism markets.

Panelists will also speak about branding and marketing Destination Africa and Africa’s newest travel products, particularly in the areas of sports tourism, and adventure travel.

Tourism experts and industry professionals from the U.S. and Africa, particularly travel agents and tour operators who market, sell and specialize in Africa, are expected to attend the seminar, as well as ministers of tourism, representatives from Washington D.C.’s diplomatic community, and Africa’s national tourism offices.

Representatives of the Spring Bank, Virginia Quanders family (1684), referred to as – America’s oldest documented African American family’ by Ebony and Jet magazines, will attend the event. Henderson Travel Services, the first African American travel agency in the U.S. to specialize in sending visitors to Africa, will also participate.

Public relations firms specializing in marketing Africa destinations, such as the Bradford Group, will participate in the seminar, alongside faculty and students from George Washington University.

ATA welcomes travel industry professionals to participate in the ATE expo immediately following the seminar. ATA members should contact ATA for discounts to exhibit.

To register and to find more information on the seminar, as well as sponsorship opportunities, visit….

About the Africa Travel Association (ATA) The Africa Travel Association, a U.S.-based non-profit, is the world’s premier travel industry trade association promoting tourism to Africa and intra-Africa travel and partnership since 1975. ATA members include ministries of tourism and culture, national tourism boards, airlines, hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators, travel trade media, public relations firms, NGOs, and SME’s. For more on ATA, visit

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