#Article (Archive)

ATA congress underway

May 20, 2010, 12:50 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

Delegates from across the globe are currently attending 35 African Travel Association Annual Congress (ATA), at a ceremony attended by foreign diplomats, senior government officials, NGOs official and members of the private sector.

The well-publicised event, which is being hosted by Sheraton Hotel in Brufut, kicked-off on Monday 17th and would end today.

The aim of the congress is to promote travel and tourism to Africa, and to strengthen inter-Africa partnerships.

ATA provides services to a broad range of members, including tourism, diaspora, culture, and sports ministers, tourism boards, airlines, just to name a few.

In her opening speech, the Vice-President of The Gambia, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, who spoke on behalf of President Jammeh thanked all those who made it to the Banjul meeting, especially those who have traveled long distances to attend the congress.

Madam Njie-Saidy told the gathering that the government and the people of The Gambia are grateful to host the event.

"This is no coincidence, as The Gambia, fondly known as the Smiling Coast of Africa, stands out conspicuously as a unique destination and tourist haven, offering a variety of appreciable opportunities, attractions and rewarding engagements for all who choose to come," she said.

The Vice-President went on to explain that The Gambia serves as a source of strength for growth, development, unity, peace and the preservation of the flora and fauna, and rich cultural diversity to the envy of others.

In recognising the country's achievements, Vice-President Njie-Saidy noted government's commitment and unflinching support to tourism and travel trade, thus informing them of the country's vision of transforming The Gambia into a tourist paradise.

Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, the Minister of Tourism and Culture thanked ATA for giving The Gambia the opportunity to host this important congress for the second time.

According to her, this is indeed a privilege and recognition of the growing international confidence in our travel and tourism, as well as hospitality industry. This philosophy, she noted, is borne out of the belief that tourism is pivotal to socio-economic development and the alleviation of poverty.

"The high level of international representative in this congress is a clear manifestation of the importance of tourism industry, as a key player in the global economy."

Minister Jobe said this year's congress is co-hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, stakeholders together with other private sector partners. The congress is attended by more than 350 travel experts and industry professionals, including tourism board heads, travel agents, tour operators, airliners, as well as the media.

Edward Bergman, the Executive Director of ATA, said ATA is founded in 1975, and is the premier travel trade organisation that promotes travel and tourism to Africa, and strengthen international Africa partnership.

"Our global memberships include governments, tourism boards, travel professional, airliners hotelier, travel media and public relation firm, etc to bring the world to Africa and Africa to the world to showcase Africa's travel products and share updates on the industry and advocate for Africa as a travel destination."