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Africa Travel Association draws tourism industry leaders to Africa

( NEW YORK, N.Y., April 30 2007 – Leading international travel and tourism industry professionals will join tourism ministers, heads of tourism boards, and private sector entrepreneurs interested in travel to Africa at the Africa Travel Association’s 32nd annual conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from May 6-11 under the theme “Branding Africa as a Continental Tourism Destination.”

ATA’s hallmark event, hosted by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and sponsored by the official congress carrier Ethiopia Airlines, is in time for the celebration of Ethiopia’s millennium celebrations. The event will culminate with the signing of a declaration by tourism ministers and senior representatives from intergovernmental organizations, which will reflect their commitment to bringing the world to Africa.

“Travel and tourism to Africa is a powerful force for economic growth, job creation, cultural preservation, environmental protection, and peace and stability. To drive industry growth, ATA is building strong partnerships in the public and private sectors that will benefit everyone involved,” said ATA President and Ghana’s Minister of Tourism Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey.

The congress aims to raise awareness of the need to market Africa as a unified continental travel destination, as well as to build a positive image of the continent for the future of Africa’s tourism development.

“The Ethiopia congress is an important moment for the association,” said Edward Bergman, ATA Executive Director. “The event has attracted ATA’s long-time friends and supporters, as well as new members, who bring a fresh energy to the 32-year old association. We all need to work together to spread positive news about the continent in new travel and tourism markets. But there is a lot of work to be done and we need to increase the diversity of our partners to make this happen.”

The five-day program addresses topics such as “Emerging Growth Markets for Africa Tourism Entrepreneurs,” which explores new travel marketing opportunities for education, volunteer and student travel, the Asia market, cultural and faith-based tourism, African Diaspora travel, and accessible travel. Sessions on “Branding Africa as a Continental Tourism Destination,” and “Connecting Africa, The Sky is the Limit” will also take place.

The program also includes roundtable discussions for ministers, suppliers and tour operators, networking events, a tour of Addis Ababa and the capital city’s outskirts, an arts and crafts fair, and a marketplace expo, hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Ethiopia. ATA’s new Youth Professionals Network, which was established at ATA’s 10th annual ecotourism symposium in Nigeria in November 2006, will also meet.

On the occasion of the congress, in cooperation with MedShare International and Miracle Corners of the World (MCW), ATA will send a container of medical supplies to a local hospital in the Lalibela region of Ethiopia.

About ATA
ATA is the premier international travel association promoting tourism to the African continent and intra-Africa travel and partnership since 1975. ATA members include ministries of tourism, tourism boards, airlines, hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators, travel trade media, public relations firms, NGOs, individuals, and small-and medium-sized businesses. For more information on ATA and the Ethiopia Congress, visit ATA on-line or call Headquarters at +1.212.447.1357.

List of Sponsors
Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Federal Republic of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines, winner of Best Africa Airline in 2006 and the official congress carrier
Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Ghana
Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism, Republic of Tanzania
Ministry of Tourism, Environment & Natural Resources, Republic of Zambia

Media Partners
Africa Travel Magazine
The Africa Channel
The African Times
Travel World News

Contact: René Taylor
Company: Africa Travel Association
Telephone: +1-212-447-1357

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