Sites to see during a week-long visit to Senegal including the city of St. Louis, which was the capital of French Equatorial Africa.

The Africa Travel Association held its 36th Annual Congress in Dakar, Senegal, May 25-29, under the theme: “Destination Senegal: A Tourism Gateway Inspired by Culture, Heritage and Arts.”

The congress overlapped with Senegal’s International Tourism, Cultural Industries and Artistic Crafts Fair, which Senegal’s president, Abdoulaye Wade, launched last year.

The Africa Travel Association introduced travel and tourism conferences to Africa in 1976 where professionals were able to meet and discuss tourism with government officials.

The congress was held last year in Gambia with 300 delegates attending including representatives of the African Union, the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Bank.

The congress is promoted not as a sales event but as a meeting-place bringing together professionals for face-to-face relationships. Since the early 1990s, the congress has promoted its Eco-Tourism Manifesto, establishing eco-tourism policies for Africa destination travel companies.

Senegal showcased its tourist attractions, craftsmanship and cultural values. A business-to-business exchange for buyers and sellers from both Africa and the United States was held as part of the fair, and a gala dinner featured Senegalese folk wrestling.

In addition, a “host country day” included a visit to Goree Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its “door of no return” through which slaves were sent to the Americas and Caribbean islands. Attendees also explored the capital city of Dakar and visit the new African Renaissance monument.

Several hundred delegates were expected at the congress including African tourism ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators and their product development executives, ground operator companies, airlines and hotels.

El Hadgi Aziz Gueye, director of Senegal’s North American office based in Atlanta, attended. He may be reached by sending an email to or calling (917) 224-5432.