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Gambia To Host Africa’s World Tourism Congress

The Republic of Gambia will host the Africa Tourist Association’s(ATA) 35th Annual Congress in its capital city of Banjul in May 2010.“It is with great pride that we are once again partnering with ATA toinvite the world to visit and explore The Gambia,” said Gambia’sMinister of Tourism and Culture, the Honorable Nancy Seedy Njie. “TheGambian government places great priority on tourism, which hascontributed significantly to our country’s growth and stability. Wehope that the ATA Congress will help us continue to promote our countryin new marketplaces and attract new investment in the sector.”
The Gambia, known as the “Smiling Coast of Africa,” is situated onthe West side of the continent. It is the smallest African country onthe mainland, and shares borders with Senegal to the north, east, andsouth. Comparatively, the Gambia is slightly smaller than the island ofJamaica, and less than twice the size of Delaware. It is known for manyluxurious beach resorts, quaint fishing villages and magnificentcoastline. 
The nation bills itself as an “affordable and safe westAfrican country, which includes peaceful and friendly people,eco-tourism, sports fishing, bird watching and safaris, music, dancingand traditional wrestling matches, and the opportunity to visittrans-Atlantic slave trade sites.”

Statue of the Unknown Soldier
The ATA’s congress in Gambia will be attended by African tourismministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, travelagencies, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels, includingparticipants from the travel trade media and the corporate, non profit,and academic sectors. 
The four-day event will focus on engagingdelegates in discussions on a range of industry topics, such as“public-private sector partnership, marketing and promotion, tourisminfrastructure development, industry trends, and social media.”

Among other events planned are a networking reception for youngprofessionals in the tourism industry, and a marketplace for buyers andsellers specializing in Destination Africa to interact and do business.Delegates to the Congress are invited to explore Gambia prior or afterthe ATA event, all aimed at experiencing the opportunities that thecountry has to offer.
Approximately 120,000 charter tourists, mainly from Europe, arriveannually to the Gambia. Its tourism Ministry plans to attract 500,000arrivals by 2012, by targeting the United States and the luxury tourismmarket, and by lengthening the tourist season to all-year round. Boththe public and private sectors are working to increase itsaccommodation stock, and currently, a new conference center is beingbuilt.

The Gambia has a population of approximately 1,782,893 people. Ithas a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately $2.264 billion, ofwhich the travel and tourism economy account for 16%. Its form ofgovernment is that of a Republic.
While Gambians are free to practice whatever religion they choose,most are Muslins (90%), Christians (8%), and others (2%). The officiallanguage of the country is English. 
About the Africa Travel Association (ATA)

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) was established as aninternational travel industry trade association in 1975. ATA’s missionis to promote travel, tourism, and transport to and within Africa andto strengthen intra-Africa partnerships. As the world’s premier travelindustry trade association, ATA provides services to a broad range ofmembers including: tourism, Diaspora, culture, sports ministers,tourism boards, airlines, hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators,travel trade media, public relations firms, consulting companies,non-profit organizations, businesses, small- and medium-sizedenterprises, and other organizations engaged in tourism promotion.

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