New travel body launched to promote Mena region

A NEW travel industry association aimed at promoting tourism to the Arab world was launched at World Travel Market 2010 (WTM).

The Middle East & North Africa Travel Association (Menata) intends to perform a similar role to other regional tourism bodies including PATA, the CTO and LATA, the respective travel associations for Pacific Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Stetching 6,500 km from the Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean, the Menata region covers 18 Arab countries plus Turkey, Cyrpus and Iran.

It brings together high-profile tourist destinations such as Dubai, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco with countries still waiting to be discovered.

“The Middle East and North Africa has to be one of the most exciting, distinctive and rewarding tourism areas anywhere in the world and yet it’s been conspicuous in not having an umbrella trade organisation to wave the flag and help raise the profile of the region. This is the vacuum Menata intends to fill,“ said executive director Peter Lilley.

“Menata will act as a catalyst bringing together companies and organisations with a shared interest in promoting travel to the Mena region and offering them a programme of activities, events and mutual support. We will also lobby the trade and media to further the interests of Menata members.“

The assocation will initially target UK-based companies with an interest in Mena tourism plus travel-related companies operating within the region itself.

Membership is open to all sectors of the travel industry including national tourist offices, airlines, hotels, tour operators, car rental suppliers, destination management companies and tourist attractions.