May 6, 2010, 1:04 PM
The Gambia will in May 2010 host the 35th Annual General Meeting of the Africa Travel Association, according to Hon. Nancy Njie, the Minister for Tourism and Culture.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Sheraton Hotel in Brufut, Minister Njie said the Gambian government places great priority on tourism, which has significantly contributed to the country's growth and stability.
"We hope that the ATA congress will help us to promote our country in new marketplaces and attract new investment in the sector. It is with great pride that we are once again partnering with ATA to invite the world to visit and explore The Gambia," she said.
She explained that The Gambia, known as the Smiling Coast of Africa, is famous for its luxurious beach resorts, quaint fishing villages and magnificent coastline, but there is much more to the affordable and safe West African country.
For his part, Mr. Edward Bergman, the Executive Director of ATA said The Gambia has made amazing progress with its travel and tourism industry by building public and private-sector partnership, in which the government creates conditions for the private sector to invest in the industry.
By coming together, he stated "The Gambia's ability to attract tourist arrivals, particularly from Europe, with ATA's ability to engage diverse travel professionals from around the world, particularly in North America and across the Africa, the congress holds tremendous promise for turning tourism into a continental economic driver."
The hallmark international event, he added, will be attended by African tourism Ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, travel agencies, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels.
The four-day event will engage delegates in discussions on a wide range of topics, such as public-private sector partnership, marketing and promotion, tourism infrastructure development, industry trends, and social media.
ATA's young professionals' network will also meet with local hospitality professionals and students. For the second year, the congress will include a marketplace for buyers and sellers specialising in Destination Africa.