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Gambia to host 35th annual ATA congress

Feb 3, 2010, 2:52 PM

In a bid to promote The Gambia as an interesting and exciting tourist destination, various strategies have been designed by the Gambia Tourism Authority in tandem with the stakeholders in the travel and tourism fraternity, to attract visitors to the Smiling Coast in an ongoing basis. As such one of the strategies identified has been the hosting of international conferences, such as the Africa Travel Association Congress, slated from 17 - 20th May 2010.

In addition to the huge international exposure and marketing benefits leading to the congress, it offers many travel professionals the opportunity to sample and experience The Gambia' s renowned hospitality and products. Besides boosting national pride, such events bring along enormous benefits in terms of out of pocket expenditure, job creation and related multiplier effects.

ATA's annual congress will bring together travel, tourism, transport and hospitality professionals from around the world to network with their counterparts in The Gambia and the region.

This four-day forum seeks to address a myriad of topics, such as the future of Africa's tourism industry, tourism growth trends, airline access to Africa and investment opportunities in the hospitality industry, among others.

Yusupha Kah, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Employment, at a recent business forum expressed strong support of the government for trade and business opportunities through the partnership envisaged by the Ministry of Tourism & Culture.

According to Edward Bergmann, the Executive Director of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) seeks to promote African travel, tourism and business, at a global level which is done through various strategies, including publicity, and above all, networking among various professionals to share experience and best practice in the domain of enterprise, business and tourism development.

To ensure a successful congress, a robust public private sector Apex Body - Gambia ATA Chapter has been constituted comprising public and private sector operatives tasked to coordinate the activities of other subsidiary committees in the context of robust public - private sector collaboration.

According to the Chair of the Gambia ATA Chapter, Mr. Alieu Secka "this is a great opportunity for The Gambia to showcase its tourism credentials to the wider world, particularly those interested in Africa."

He further said that an impressive and interactive programme is being drawn up, in addition to the very high profile and educative side programmes, designed to engender focused discussion on various thematic issues, befitting an event of this magnitude and dimension.

"In terms of tourism facilities and the necessary manpower to handle an event of this magnitude, The Gambia has all the necessary credentials for this, not to mention our legendary hospitality and abundant peace and tranquillity, all of which are a sine quo non for a successful congress," he stated.

Further buttressing this fact, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Kaliba Senghore, in a recent interview, emphasised that The Gambia as a destination is synonymous with a peaceful climate that ensures the security of tourists who always move about freely, safely and comfortably.

He stressed that "as far as ATA is concerned, the stakeholders are ready to promote The Gambia in its fullest potential to leave lasting impression on the American market and our brothers and sisters from the diaspora."