The Africa Travel Association (ATA), a division of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), is proud to announce its 41st Annual World Tourism Conference will take place November 14-17 this year in Kigali, Rwanda. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is collaborating on the event.
“The Government of Rwanda is privileged to host the Africa Travel Association’s 41st Annual World Tourism Congress delegates in Kigali, Rwanda,” said Francis Gatare, RBD CEO, “Rwanda has excellent infrastructure and an array of iconic tourism attractions that suits ATA’s event, and Kigali city has [a] special fascination to visitors. The Government of Rwanda is committed to working with Corporate Council on Africa to ensure that the event is successfully hosted in the country.”
This year’s conference comes on the eve of 2017, which the United Nations designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The UN designation highlights the importance of sustainable tourism, and promotes business and investment opportunities related to tourism, as well as intersecting sectors such as infrastructure, information and communications technology, health, real estate development, capacity building, and finance.
The 41st Annual World Tourism Conference will be the first time ATA’s flagship conference is hosted under CCA leadership. CCA is bringing a new emphasis on creating year-long strategic partnerships with attendees and members. Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the CCA said, “This year’s conference will be a learning and networking opportunity, as well as a launching pad for the exciting work we will be doing with our members throughout the year. We have had great success in creating events that generate ongoing benefits and opportunities, and we are pleased to be applying our expertise to the tourism industry.”
The Conference will bring together African leaders, international investors, and travel professionals to set the tone for how tourism can be utilized as an engine for economic growth and job creation across the continent, and through innovative business models, new technologies, and strategic partnerships. The Conference will also provide a platform to network and explore new tourism markets and products including the promotion and preservation of Africa’s rich cultural heritage and wildlife.
“The Africa we want going forward into the next 50 years as envisioned by the African Union Agenda 2063, will start with a visit, in the trade and investment value chain,” said the Hon. Dr. Walter Mzembi (MP), the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Zimbabwe, who is also the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa Chairperson and Africa’s candidate for the position of UNWTO Secretary General in 2017. “To get there, we must guarantee barrier free, safe, and secure travel that starts with Africa visiting itself, and charming the world with its pristine biodiversity and proliferating marine life secured in its ‘blue’ bowels. The 2.4 billion population boom by 2050, and a fast emerging middle class, combined with an ICT-driven youth dividend, makes Africa the most attractive source market beginning now, and will be mutually enjoyed by partners today that invest in its future. Take a position now.”
African Tourism is a US$44 billion industry according to Africa Tourism Monitor 2015: Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential, a joint report by the African Development Bank (AfDB), New York University’s Africa House, and ATA, and it is growing quite rapidly. The continent’s travel and hospitality industry has quadrupled in size in less than 15 years, and according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia. Travel and tourism’s impact on the economic and social development of African countries can be enormous.
CCA acquired ATA in January 2016. The Africa Travel Association (ATA), a division of Corporate Council on Africa, is a global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. Established in 1975, ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA membership comprises African governments, their tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel sellers and providers, tour operators and travel agents, and affiliate industries. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.