Welcome home African Travel Association
2015 has been – and continues to be – a tremendous period for international conferencing in Nairobi, just as the Kenyatta International Convention Centre continues to be Kenya’s conferencing shop window and platform, being the most centrally placed and experienced convention centre in the East Central and Horn of Africa region.
The KICC is both delighted and privileged to be the venue of the African Travel Association’s 40th Annual World Congress from 9 to 14 November. The congress will attract approximately 500 delegates. It will be hosted by the Kenyan Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism under Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie.
This is a hugely significant gathering and it comes just a short jump ahead of the 10th session of the World Trade Organisation Conference from 15 to 18 December. About 7,000 delegates will attend the WTO Conference in Nairobi, whose venue is also the KICC. This will be the WTO’s inaugural conference on African soil.
The benefits of hosting the WTO Conference will be felt throughout the region and across the continent. In Nairobi alone, the delegates will spend KSh4.2 billion ($3.9 million) in barely a working-day week. Farther afield, it will boost the region’s and the continent’s Multilateral Trading Systems (MTS) credentials.
Coming in the same year as the 6th Global Entrepreneurial Summit co-hosted at the end of July by Presidents Barack Obama and Uhuru Kenyatta, the WTO Conference will be one of the ultimate seals of approval of Kenya’s recovery and turnaround as one of the pre-eminent tourism and conferencing hubs on the continent.
The ATA Conference has come to one of the world’s most outstanding safari and conferencing destinations and venues. It will be as feat of networking, providing unique learning and agenda-shaping platform for tourism stakeholders. A cursory glance at its forthcoming Nairobi programme reveals content-rich educational and professional sessions; a tourism ministers’ roundtable; meet-the-media encounters; buyers-and-suppliers interactions and transactions; and outings to Nairobi’s world-class sights, including the only national park in the world on the immediate environs of a metropolis.
The ATA has a distinguished and proactive history. Established as an international non-profit, non-political, educational trade organisation in New York by a group of travel and airline executives, the ATA has pioneered the establishment of National Tourist Boards, providing a forum for the learning and professional development of Africa travel agents and tour operators’ knowledge, and helping establish incoming operators in Africa. The then young African nations received invaluable assistance and know-how with shaping their tourism capabilities and building their credentials.
ATA’s investment in African tourism has been inestimable. This untold capacity-building has, over the years, included engaging tour operators and small-scale tourism businesses around the world with networking events, educational seminars and consumer and travel trade shows. In the U.S. alone, over 250,000 prospective tourists are exposed to Africa’s tourism assets face-to-face by ATA members.
In an immense collabrative and proactive effort with the U.S., Canadian and world press/media, ATA works to expound the good side of out-of-Africa news, and to report on the development of tourism projects and destinations.
We welcome the ATA to Africa, being well aware that their primary objectives and focus have been to promote the tourist attractions of the African continent and to educate travel agents, meeting and conference planners and incentive companies about the products and services offered by Africa’s tourism industry.
The ATA thus helps to identify new tourism products and destinations for the benefit of the local populations and the international travel industry.
By meeting in Nairobi, the ATA will in very many senses be coming home to the arena and one of the hubs of its life’s work.
Kenya is one of the world’s foremost homes of hospitality. Kenyans delight in hosting Africa and the rest of the world at home. Workshops, conferences, conventions and summits held in Kenya constitute some of the participants’ most unforgettable, satisfying and gratifying experiences.
Karibu nyumbani, ATA!
*This article was paid for and supplied by client