Naledi K. Khabo, Managing Director, introducing Africa Travel Association (ATA)

When was your association founded?
In 1975

Where is your association based, how many members do you have & in how many countries?
ATA is registered as a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association in the USA, with headquarters in New York and chapters around the world. ATA members number 200 with approximately 2000 global affiliate members.  

Who are your members?
ATA membership is comprised of African governments, their tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel sellers and providers, tour operators and travel agents, and affiliate industries.

What is your mission & aim of the association?

ATA is the leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa. ATA’s annual events in Africa and the United States bring together industry leaders to shape Africa’s tourism agenda.ATA core goals are as follows:

  • Advocate for Africa as a global travel destination;
  • Market and promote Destination Africa, showcasing Destination Africa’s diverse travel products and services;
  • Organize industry business-to-business programs in Africa and the USA;
  • Achieve greater coordination among tourism ministers and the industry;
  • Offer continuing education, professional development and learning opportunities;
  • Bring public and private stakeholders together to discuss issues of common interest;
  • Cooperate with other organizations interested in tourism and Africa;
  • Conduct research with partner organizations.

What are the major challenges facing your association?
ATA’s challenges are not unlike most non-profit organizations. I’ve highlighted key challenges we are currently facing:

  • Organizational transformation and change management;
  • Retaining and attracting members;
  • Revenue diversification;
  • Fundraising and sponsorships;
  • Quantifying our value proposition.

What kind of events are organised by your association?
ATA hosts an international congress in Africa on an annual basis.
ATA also hosts an annual international tourism forum featuring African ministers with New York University at margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. In addition, ATA holds 6-8 smaller meetings and working groups (50-100 pax) in the US throughout the year.
As part of their efforts to increase our global footprint, ATA will begin holding meetings targeting tourism stakeholders outside of North America and Africa in 2019.

What is the decision process behind the selection of a destination/venue?
Our annual congress is generally selected by the Managing Director and Board of Directors based strategic destination partners. 

Can you share your insights about the latest trends within the association community?
Innovation and technology are key trends that will remain a priority for associations. Whether it’s how you engage with members; how you implement technology in key event; or how you leverage technology platforms for marketing, technology is a key element across all association efforts. Additionally, millennial engagement is critical to ensure not just the success, but also the survival of association. They need to be actively engaged and provided with a platform so that their needs are heard and addressed.

What does your association do in terms of legacy, do your meetings have a societal impact on the destination?
Leaving an impact on our host destination is a core element of our annual Congress. Our Congress is not just a meeting but the culmination of a longer-term activation to promote the destination and its offerings on a global level.
Additionally, we make a concerted effort to partner with local government, NGOs, and private sector by working with corporate partners to provide education and skills development for SMEs in our host destination. Additionally, we make a concerted effort to support the local business have a platform to showcase and their products before, during and after the Congress.

Are you looking to forge collaborations with other associations? If so in what areas of expertise?
ATA maintains that collaboration with other organizations is critical to maximizing impact – whether it’s cross-promotional marketing efforts, sharing expertise, contacts or co-producing events. We regularly see out partnerships with like-minded organizations with a focus on either Tourism or Africa.

For more information please check their website: