Friday, May 11, 2012

Africa Travel Association (ATA) Congress Set to Exceed Expectations

The Africa Travel Association's (ATA) 37th annual congress, opening on May 18 in historic Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is, according to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karigoga Kaseke, looking to exceed planners' expectations.  Kaseke, in an article in Zimbabwe's Daily News newspaper, said the target attendance had been 300 delegates, but already 371 had registered, and he expected attendance to actually surpass 400.  Of the registered delegates, 210 are local and 62 from abroad, including some government ministers.

The five-day congress, held by ATA in cooperation with ZTA, in addition to focusing on tourism in Africa in general, will also look at tour business potential in Zimbabwe.  Delegates will also be able to experience the sights and arts of the host country with sightseeing tours, cultural shows and dinners, and a golf tournament included in the program.

Zimbabwean vice president Joyce Mujuru, who is also Zimbabwe's Tourism Patron, along with Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, are among the high level guests who are expected to attend the congress.  The ATA congress will be a dry run for Zimbabwe as it prepares to host the world's largest tourism event, the United Nations World Tourism Authority General Assembly in cooperation with neighboring Zambia in 2013. 

This year's ATA Congress will be the first held in Zimbabwe since the 1980s.  ATA, founded in 1975, is a premier travel industry trade association, providing services to its membership from a broad array of private sector concerns, including tour operators, public relations firms, hotel operators, travel agents, and airlines.