APTA Members Named to USTOA 2018 Associate Member Advisory Committee



The United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) announces the 2018 Associate Member Advisory Committee to be chaired by USTOA Board Member, Scott Wiseman, President of Travel Impressions. The committee includes APTA members David DiGregorio and David Kartagener.

The 2018 Committee will consist of the following individuals:


  • Nick Panza, Air Tahiti Nui
  • Steve Hargin, Emirates

Ground Operators

  • Jim Tedesco, Back-Roads Touring Co.
  • Kathryn Monaco, ARP Travel Group-East Africa
  • Joe Green, Tumlare Corporation


  • Debbie O’Brien, Belmond USA Inc.
  • Rafi Baeri, Dan Hotels, Israel

Insurance – Medical Assistance

  • Kelly Sahner, Trip Mate

Marketing, Media & Travel Related Services

  • David Kartagener, Kartagener Associates Inc.
  • Josh Gershenson, Travelzoo

Technology – Specialty Service Providers

  • Maria Regester, Rightrez Inc.

Tourist Boards

  • Marilyn Bell, Tourism Calgary
  • Stephanie Wear, Tenerife Tourism Corp
  • David DiGregorio, Innovation Norway / APTA / CornerSun Destination Marketing

Visa and Passport Services

  • Crystal Potter, CIBT / VisaCentral
ET Skytrax

Ethiopian Airlines Group Awarded 4-Star Ranking by SKYTRAX

Africa’s largest airline group, Ethiopian Airlines, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded SKYTRAX 4-Star certification at a special ceremony held in London on November 8, 2017.

SKYTRAX, the most prestigious international air transport standards and quality rating organization, operates certified airline rating, a global airline standards ranking program. Ratings are determined through direct and professional auditing and analysis of quality of service standards.

While receiving the certificate, Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked, “The 4-Star recognition by SKYTRAX is a significant milestone in the long history of Ethiopian Airlines. As a customer focused airline, it is extremely gratifying that our hard work to ensure high level of customer satisfaction at all times through a consistent delivery of global standard product and superior level of service has borne fruit.

4-Star Airline certification is one of the overarching goals and a critical successor factor of our 15 years strategic road map, Vision 2025. Although we have been receiving many prestigious awards from all corners of the world for our superior customer services on the ground and in the air, this rating certifies the global standards of our products and service delivery through professional audits. I wish to thank all the hardworking 12,000+ members of the Ethiopian
family for this great success.

At the same time, this prestigious rating reminds us all that SKYTRAX 4-Star Rating is a great honor and also a great responsibility to always meet the high expectations of our esteemed customers.”

Ethiopian Airlines is a multi-award winning airline and has previously received SKYTRAX World Airline Award for Best Airline Staff in Africa, two times and earlier in 2017 Ethiopian received SKYTRAX World Airline Award for Best Airline in Africa.


Zimbabweans elated but cautious as Mugabe flounders

On Harare’s streets, many expressed amazement and delight Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe’s long reign may be coming to a close, but people also admitted the future looked unstable.

Mugabe, 93, has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 — longer than many can remember — and the sudden move against him by the military left some hoping that his repressive regime would soon fall.

“We are happy with what has been done,” Keresenzia Moyo, 65, a housewife told AFP after visiting a hospital in the capital.

“We needed change. Our situation has been pathetic. The economy has been in the doldrums for a very long time.

“What is good is that this has happened at the top and it is not affecting us people on the ground. People could be killing each other.”

Moyo said that she didn’t care if Mugabe was allowed to leave the country unhindered despite his tenure being marked by brutal repression of dissent, corruption and election vote-rigging.

Mugabe, who is under house arrest after the military took control, led Zimbabwe to independence.

But his decades in power have turned a country known as the breadbasket of Africa for its produce, into an economic basket case, where many go hungry.

“What we want is for our children to be able to get jobs and live a normal happy life,” Moyo said.

“We want to have food on the table, not one side having everything and others dying of hunger. Mugabe was once a good person but he lost it. Now we need a fresh start.”

‘We need some kind of direction’
Zimbabwe’s military has denied staging a coup, saying Mugabe was still president.

“We don’t know what this all means and we don’t know what to do,” Karen Mvelani, 21, a student, told AFP.

“We need some kind of direction on where we are heading.”

The impact of the momentous political developments was limited in Harare, with many people attending street markets, catching mini-buses to work or lining up outside banks as normal.

Sanctuary Olonana - New rooms 2018 (3) 1080 72dpi

Redefining Sanctuary Olonana

In June 2018 Sanctuary Olonana will relaunch as an exceptional luxury lodge with an impressive showcase of modern design blended with distinct traditional African finishes, and is the latest to be announced in Sanctuary Retreats’ extensive investment programme.
Sanctuary Olonana is set in lush woodland on the banks of the Mara River in the Masai Mara, where the great outdoors is invited indoors with 14 new glass-sided suites. Famous for soul-warming service and exceptional customer experience, it is already regarded as one of the top safari properties in Africa, having recently been named the best resort in Africa in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Contemporary architecture is juxtaposed with time-tested building practices such as Maasai mudding and stone walls, with soothing organic tones and a variety of textures adding warmth and character. Inspired by the Masai Mara’s breath-taking natural wonders, an abundance of wildlife, and a dramatic river which runs right past its forest setting, this luxurious lodge will be an exhilarating environment which connects you to this extraordinary Kenyan landscape in a truly enriching way.


Land & Life Foundation Wildlife Warriors

Given the fact that much of East Africa’s wild animals actually lives outside the protection of national parks on private or community lands, Cheli & Peacock: shares the belief with other eco experts that local residents must be able to see, understand and directly benefit from wildlife tourism in order to create a strong bond that will ensure the preservation of these magnificent creatures long into the future.

With this in mind, the company created the C&P Community Trust in 2011. Later re-branded as the Land & Life Foundation:; the nonprofit is joined with the Elewana Collection:, the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Thailand and hospitality and restaurant operator Minor International to create an environmental education campaign that spans two continents.

The guiding ideals of the Land & Life Foundation lie in the belief that the sustainability of East Africa’s wildlife and habitats depends on four key actions: securing land for conservation, protecting species and their environment, providing tangible benefits to the people who live alongside wildlife, and educating the next generation of conservationists.

Much of the foundation’s focus is on community outreach in Kenya and Tanzania, a Wildlife Warrior program that seeks to introduce and educate the next generation to the issues of conservation and wildlife and teach them how to create a sustainable future where communities and wildlife can thrive together.

The ambition of these young Wildlife Warriors is leading their nations forward with passion, so more people can understand and appreciate of the importance of wildlife conservation and tourism. Evidence shows that programs like this positively impact young people, their communities and local ecology. Since its launch, the program has…continue reading at:



South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations ®), the leisure division of South African Airways, the national airline of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, is offering a free two-night stay in the world-renown wine region in South Africa’s Western Cape town of Stellenbosch, with its “Best of South Africa” air-inclusive package. This offering starting at $4199*, will captivate travelers with the breathtaking scenery and exhilarating activities in sophisticated Cape Town and a thrilling safari to view Africa’s “Big 5” wildlife in a private game reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park. Book this package by December 15, 2017, and travelers can explore Western Cape wine region and enjoy South Africa’s culinary and wine capital in Stellenbosch while experiencing world-class service at the luxurious Evergreen Manor and Spa (or similar) complimentary for a two-night stay.

“Given the success of our Best of South Africa package, we have decided to further enhance the inclusions by offering two free nights in the Western Cape winelands,” said Terry von Guilleaume, president of SAA Vacations®. “This will allow visitors to extend their stay in South Africa and enjoy touring the wine region at an affordable package price.”

The “Best of South Africa” package with the free 2-night stay in the Cape Winelands is available for new reservations made by December 15, 2017. The free nights in the Cape wine region is offered for a limited time only, so travelers should hurry and call 1-855-359-7228 to reserve today. South African Airways Vacations offers air-inclusive package options for all budgets, with their African Specialists available to ensure their clients experience the vacation of their dreams. For more vacation packages throughout Africa, please visit


Trump admin. to reverse ban on elephant trophies from Africa

The Trump administration plans to allow hunters to import trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the United States, reversing a ban put in place by the Obama administration in 2014, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official confirmed to ABC News today.

Even though elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, a provision in the act allows the government to give permits to import these trophies if there is evidence that the hunting actually benefits conservation for that species. The official said they have new information from officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban to allow trophy hunting permits.

“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said in a statement.

This change only applies to elephants in those two countries but questions about using game hunting to generate money for conservation efforts also came up during the controversy after Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe in 2015.

The government has not actually announced this policy change yet but it was reportedly announced at a wildlife forum in South Africa this week, according to Safari Club International, which filed a lawsuit to block the 2014 ban.


Financial boost for Stellenbosch Tourism

Stellenbosch was highlighted as an international tourism destination at the recent Annual General Meeting held by Stellenbosch Publicity and Marketing (SPM), the entity responsible for administering the Stellenbosch Tourism levy.

SPM reported that, during the past fiscal year, more than R700 000 (€42 700) was made available for the tourism activities of Stellenbosch 360, as the town’s and region’s official tourism organisation.

In 2010/2011 only R116 132 (€7 083) was obtained from levies raised by members; last year’s amount increased to R733 000 (€44 688). The SPM grew from only four founding supporters to the 35 present members who all decided to obtain their 1% tourism levy contribution from their guests and to pay it over to SPM.

Craig Seaman, Chairman of SPM emphasised that the tourism levy had been the key element in enabling Stellenbosch 360 to market the town as a top international tourist destination and to initiate essential initiatives such as global trade visits and develop Stellenbosch in addition as a major conferencing and business tourism destination.

Annemarie Ferns, CEO of Stellenbosch 360, said the funding by SPM was essential for Stellenbosch tourism and enabled them to undertake and execute various activities for which no monies would have been available otherwise.




South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, has been honored with five premier Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, one of the leading travel trade publications in the U.S. The Magellan Awards commemorates the best in travel, honoring an array of travel providers based on their design, creativity, and inspirational messaging in the development and
execution of their advertising and marketing platforms. The awards distinguish a broad range of
companies within the industry, including airlines and airports, cruise lines, destination tourism boards, tour operators and travel agencies.

For 2017, South African Airways has received recognition from a panel of travel industry professionals with the following Magellan Awards:

Airline Marketing – Promotional Video South African Airways Next Beginnings
Tour Operators – Marketing-Consumer Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations
Product Brochure

Tour Operator Marketing 2017 South African Airways Vacations
Product Brochure
Airline – Overall-International Carrier South Africa Airways Vacation South Africa
Travel Planner
Tour Operator – Marketing-Trade Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations
Product Brochure


Ethiopian to Link Buenos Aires with Africa – 6th Gateway to the Americas

Africa’s largest airline group, Ethiopian Airlines, is pleased to announce that it has finalized preparations to start five weekly flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as of March 8, 2018.
Buenos Aires is the world’s capital of Tango, home of centurion old buildings and a vibrant cultural scene. Argentina is one of the largest economies in Latin America and Buenos Aires is the 2nd largest city in South America with a population of over 13 million.

Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said, “We are glad to add Buenos Aires, our 6th gateway to the Americas, to our extensive global network. Our new flight to Buenos Aires will provide efficient connections to our network in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, including Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Mumbai, Delhi, Dubai, Beirut, Nairobi, and Cairo.

We are all the more happy that the flights will be launched on 8 March, International Women’s Day. To mark this important occasion and as part of our commitment of mainstreaming gender into our core business, the inaugural flight on 8 March will be an All Women Operated Flight.

Currently, Ethiopia is registering rapid economic growth with strong emphasis on industrialization with the construction of industrial zones and the development of tourism in light of the truly unique natural, cultural and historical wealth of the country. As the national carrier, we are fast expanding our global footprint, currently covering over 100 international destinations across five continents, to support the country’s growth by facilitating its access to investors and tourists.


Sanctuary Retreats introduces new camp in the Serengeti

In December 2017 Sanctuary Retreats will launch the exclusive new Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp in Tanzania. This extraordinary new escape, based in three set locations across the Serengeti, invites guests to intimately experience the movement of a million-plus wildebeest and zebra as they follow the fresh grasses across the Serengeti plains during the annual migration cycle. The launch is the latest in an extensive investment programme taking place across the Sanctuary portfolio.

Being a part of Kichakani — translating from Swahili as ‘in the bush’ — means staying in remarkable luxury tents which can be packed up and moved along in a style evocative of the pioneering explorers of the 19th century, yet with all the modern comforts. An elegant contemporary take on the classic campaign look, Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp will offer accommodation under canvas with 10 new five-star tents, all of which have been styled with distinction.

Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp will open on 2 December 2017 in the Southern Serengeti and will replace Sanctuary Retreats’ current Sanctuary Migration Camp offering. The camp will be located in Southern Serengeti (2 December 2017 – 31 March 2018), Central Serengeti (26 May 2018 – 15 July 2018), and Northern Serengeti (29 July 2018 – 15 November 2018).