A new UK-based travel association aimed at promoting tourism to the Arab world has been announced.

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. Stretching 6,500km from the Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean, the MENATA region covers 18 Arab countries plus Turkey, Cyprus and Iran.

The association's executive director, Peter Lilley, said: “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. 

“The association 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 association will initially target UK-based companies with an interest in Middle East and North Africa tourism plus travel-related companies operating within the MENA region itself. Membership is open to all sectors of the industry including national tourist offices, airlines, hotels, tour operators, car rental suppliers, destination management companies and tourist attractions. The association will formally commence operations in January next year. Companies signing up before February 28 will qualify for Founder Member status including paying no joining fee.  

The MENATA region covers the following countries and territories: Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates  (including Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah & Umm Al Qaiwain) and Yemen.

For more information visit www.menata.org  

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