Ethiopia set to host ATA meeting

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- For the first time in its history, the Africa Travel Association will stage its international congress in Ethiopia.

It expects to attract 300 to 350 delegates to its 25th annual meeting, which is set to be held here May 7 to 12.

The event will be opened by the nation's president, Negasso Gidada, during ceremonies at the United Nations Conference Center.

Other program elements will include a trade show with exhibitors from all regions of Africa; a day of marketing seminars; a luncheon honoring top-producing tour operators to Africa, and sessions devoted to ATA business affairs.

Headlining the marketing segment will be a panel of ATA U.S. chapter presidents in a session called Marketing Africa as the Destination for the 21st Century.

The speakers are Marlene Melton, African Adventures, New York, who will serve as coordinator; David Saunders, Venue International Professionals, Washington; James Brock, Brock Travel and Tours, Atlanta; Hemie Gibson, Universe Travel, Memphis, and Michael Madison, Arbor Travel, Los Angeles.

May 10 is set aside as a Host Country Day. Delegates will have the chance to tour the Jubilee Palace, the former home of Emperor Haile Selassie, which is not open to the public.

Delegates also will have a choice of more than a dozen pre- and post-meeting tours that will feature top tourist attractions in Ethiopia and in nearby countries.

Michael Afedi Gizo, minister of tourism in Ghana and president and chairman of ATA, will preside at the organization's 25th international meeting.

Hegos Legesse, Legesse Travel & Tourism Consultants in New York, is congress chairman; the Hilton International Addis Ababa is the headquarters hotel, and Ethiopian Airlines is the official carrier.

The airline, which serves the Ethiopian capital from Newark and Washington, is offering a delegate's fare of $750 with proof of registration.

Registration fees cover meals, housing and activities for the week's event. The registration cost ranges from $500 to $1,100, depending on the housing option selected.

ATA members can register on line at www.b-there.com/ata.

Further information about the congress and registration details are available from Debrah Nairn at (212) 447-1926; fax: (212) 725-8253; e-mail: [email protected], and at: www.africa-ata.org.

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