New Telegraph

African Travel Commission Set For Re-launch In Ghana

After more than two years of spade work to revive the once vibrant African Travel Commission (ATC), which was abandoned for 48 years, after it was formally set up in 1965, all is now set in the coming days to re-launch the body.

All thanks to the Executive Director, Nigeria-born Lucky George, who has worked selflessly and assiduously to revive the tourism body, which was set up by some African countries national tourism agencies to promote and collaborate among themselves in the development and promotion of African tourism.

The new rebirth of the body, according to George, is scheduled for Thursday September 14 in Accra, Ghana, which has served as the official base for the Commission since George single-handedly commenced the rejigging of the Commission, with assistance from Ghana tourism and other operators, who see the need to bring back the Commission.

George explained the launch date was chosen because of its closeness to September 27, a day that set aside as World Tourism Day (WTD) in commemoration of tourism by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Interestingly, the idea for the celebration of WTD was mooted by late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, a Nigerian tourism global icon and administrator under the leadership of the African Travel Commission (ATC) in 1970.

He was the Secretary General, Nigeria Tourist Association (NTA), which was transformed to the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and now known as Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA).

He noted that the body which then was for all serving chief executive officers of national tourism agencies on the continent, played a significant role in the reformation and transformation of the then International Union of Official Travel Organisation (IUOTO) to present day United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

George disclosed that with the new development, ‘‘ATC has now been expanded to include all serving chief executive officers of national tourism agencies and tourism federations heads/chairs. This move is to provide a platform for proper articulations and collaborations amongst African countries.

‘‘Also, ATC has now been formally registered as a non-profit organisation in Ghana for the first time anywhere on the continent to carry out the following responsibilities: Research is critical to all marketing strategies and services.

There(institutions and organisations) to uncover new opportunities that would equip members with suitable promotional strategies; ‘‘Marketing Africa as a destination of choice in key overseas markets on behalf of its members through partnerships that are being established now and to carry out Advocacy that is necessary because much is left undone because of the gap created due to the lack of a body like the African Travel Commission [ATC], since 1975.

‘’There is a need to lobby governments across the continent for them to see reasons in making issues of visas and its attendant cost easier for Africans to facilitate travel experiences among African countries that are flexible and affordable.’’

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