Egyptian Minister of Tourism to open ATS Annual Fall Conference

The American Tourism Society (ATS) Annual Fall Conference will take place in Cairo, Egypt, October 27-30, 2008, under the auspices of H.E. Zoheir Garranah, Egyptian Minister of Tourism. Mr. Amr El-Ezaby, Chairman, Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) will join H.E. Zoheir Garranah to officially open the conference on Tuesday, October 28th at the five-star Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah Hotel. Renowned Egyptian Archaeologist, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, will be the keynote speaker. H.E. Akel Biltaji, Chair of the ATS Mediterranean/Red Sea Council Region will officially call the meeting to order.

The three-day conference, the first ever ATS meeting in Egypt, will be jam-packed with key tourism industry sessions in the mornings and afternoon tours to some of the famous sights and sounds of Cairo including The Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Salah El-Din, Mohammed Ali Mosque, the Khan El Khalily Bazaar (a shopper’s paradise), and the Pyramids and the Sphinx, part of a World Heritage Site region, and the only ancient Wonder of the World still standing.

Following a welcome reception on Monday evening October 27, the first conference sessions will take place on Tuesday, October 28. In addition to H.E. Zoheir Garranah, Mr. El -Ezaby, and Dr. Hawass, other opening day speakers will include H.E. the Hon. Margaret Scobey, United States Ambassador to Egypt, David T. Parry, ATS Chairman and Chairman, Academic Travel Abroad, Phil Otterson, ATS President and Executive Vice President Internal Affairs, Tauck World Discovery, Don Reynolds, ATS Executive Vice President. Alex Harris, ATS Co-founder and Hon. Chairman and Chairman, General Tours, will present the first annual Alexander W. Harris Founder’s Award.

One of the program highlights of opening day will be the “Presidents Panel” featuring the Presidents of major travel industry organizations including Bob Whitley, United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Bruce Beckham, Tourism Cares, Robin Tauck, Tauck World Discovery, Lisa Simon, National Tour Association, as well as a representatives of the American Egypt Chamber of Commerce and the Egyptian Tourism Federation. The panel will be moderated by Cathleen Johnson, Executive Vice President, Edelman Public Relations International.

Phil Otterson will give an overview of the expansion of the ATS Tourism College initiative “now an integral part of each conference. This is in keeping with the ATS policy that the organization gives back something to the destinations where it meets.” This year the ATS Tourism College program will take place on Sunday, October 26, at the Helwan University, prior to the opening of the ATS Conference itself. The sessions will focus on two topics suggested by the Helwan University professors, E-Marketing led by ATS Board Member, Dave Spinelli, Global Web Solutions and Mike Wargo, Travelocity; The Market for Special Interest and Cultural Travel session will be led by David Parry, ATS Chairman and Chairman, Academic Travel Abroad. A large number of students are expected to participate in Sunday’s seminar while 50 students will participate each day of the conference itself.

The ATS Conference program on Wednesday, October 29, will feature ATS Tourism College initiatives and educational sessions that focus on greater interaction with the local travel industry partners, as well as expand on the Tourism College training program.

A US Tour operator panel, moderated by Bob Whitley, President USTOA, will target the Egyptian El Hamy El Zayat, Chairman, EMECO Traveldelegates, focusing on “Trends in North American Tourism.” The first keynote speaker for the Wednesday Sessions will be Bruce Beckham, President, Tourism Cares, who will present “Tourism Cares – Restoring the Past, Preserving the Future.” The second keynote address for that day will be given by El Hamy El Zayat, Chairman, EMECO Travel, who will provide the American delegates with an overview “Trends in Egyptian Tourism.” The Egyptian Tourism Federation will present a panel on “Egypt: Realities vs. Perception,” moderated by Mohamed Salmawy, President, Egyptian Writers Union followed by an update “Tourism 4 Peace” presented by Mr. Rafi Baeri, Dan Hotels, Israel.

American Express Company, represented by ATS Board Member, Donna Flora, Sr. VP, Travel Industry Relations, will host all ATS delegates for a final Gala Dinner at the famous Mena House Oberoi, adjacent to the Pyramids.

Post Conference Five-Night National Tour Association (NTA) Product Development Cruise on the Nile.

The ATS post-conference National Tour Association Product Development Tour will be a luxurious Nile  Dr. Zahi Hawass,Cruise on the inaugural voyage of the new 5-star deluxe Tamar Henna. Delegates will have the opportunity to view Egypt’s splendors from the comfort of the deck, and then disembark to more intimately experience the unparalleled sights of these exceptional ancient cities. The first ATS / NTA partnership initiative, the cruise will provide Egypt with an opportunity to introduce new tour operators to some of the more famous highlights of Ancient Egypt.

All ATS conference tours and land arrangements are being handled by Wings Tours, the official ATS Conference Ground Operator. Egypt Air, the official ATS conference carrier, will be offering special rates for ATS delegates. As it enters a new era of expansion, Egypt Air is now a partner in the Star Alliance

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