NEW YORK, NY – The American Tourism Society (ATS) announced today that online registration is now open at www.AmericanTourismSociety.org for its Fall 2010 Annual Conference, which will take place in Kosovo, October 25-29 2010. ETurboNews is a proud media sponsor for the event.
Situated as it is in the heart of the Balkans, this small, newly-independent country is generating a great deal of interest among tourists and tourism industry professionals alike. The ATS Fall Conference will showcase three of Kosovo’s largest cities – Pristina, the capital and venue for the opening meetings; Peja, perhaps the nation’s most picturesque city and the location for this year’s ATS Tourism College and ATS Tourism Cares programs; and Prizren, offering an eclectic mix of Albanian, Ottoman, and Serbian cultural heritage. An optional post-conference tour to the neighboring nation of Albania will follow from October 29-31.
Jan Rudomina, ATS vice president and member of the executive committee, who is the ATS 2010 Fall Conference chair, said: “Kosovo as a tourist destination is a perfect example of the ATS mission, Presenting Tomorrow’s Destinations. The timing for the ATS conference could not be better. As the region is on the cusp of development, the ATS meeting has a unique opportunity to make a positive contribution to the development of a sustainable tourism policy that will benefit the local communities as well as preserve the cultural traditions.”
Kosovo forms a natural bridge between the European and Islamic cultures. The ancient history of this Balkan nation is the foundation for a new country with a bright and energetic future. The 2010 ATS Fall Conference begins in Pristina, a bustling city of more than half a million inhabitants, and continues onto Peja and Prizren.
“GETTING LOCAL” – ATS TOURISM COLLEGE
In Peja, ATS will feature another session of the annual ATS Tourism College Program, which has received much praise from the host countries of the last two conferences in Egypt and Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Germany. The Tourism College program consists of two tracks – the first where ATS tourism professionals spend a day teaching students at the local university tourism programs, and the second where the students are invited to attend the ATS conference sessions; and third are the educational sessions at the ATS Conference focusing on how to promote and sell to the US market, geared to the local and non-US travel professionals.
This year’s Tourism College is being organized in cooperation with University of Pristina’s Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, which is located in Peja. According to Phil Otterson, ATS president: “This year we are adding yet another exciting component to the ATS Tourism College. ATS delegates will have students as guides taking them to see the historic highlights of Pristina as well as Peja and Prizren. It is amazing to hear the enthusiastic feedback, not just from the students, but the ATS delegates, who find the teaching sessions one of the most gratifying parts of the conference.”
“GETTING LOCAL” – TOURISM CARES
ATS and its partner, Tourism Cares, will also be organizing their second joint program at an ATS Conference. This year’s program, in which ATS delegates join with the local communities to help repair a local cultural heritage site, will take place in the Deçan area, located near the Albanian border in western Kosovo and perhaps best known for its historic 13th-century Orthodox monastery, Dečani, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004. The ATS and Tourism Cares Partnership was first announced by ATS president Phil Otterson and Tourism Cares executive director Bruce Beckham at the ATS 2008 Fall Conference in Cairo, Egypt. Last year, ATS delegates participated in a tree-planting project as part of the conference in Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Germany.
POST-ATS CONFERENCE ALBANIA TOUR
Following the Fall 2010 ATS Conference, there will be an optional two-night tour to Albania, which is, along with Kosovo, yet another “best kept secret” for the American market. According to David Parry, ATS chairman: “The tour will provide delegates with the opportunity to discover and explore the historic cities of Tirana and Kruja including the Skenderbeg National Museum, the Ethnological Museum, and the Bazaar. Kruja is the birthplace of Albania’s national hero, Skenderbeg, and is a picturesque town with a panoramic view of Tirana.
ABOUT ATS – PRESENTING TOMORROW’S DESTINATIONS
The American Tourism Society (ATS) was established in 1986 by a group of US tourism industry executives to provide exclusive access, business networking, and promotion for transformational destinations. It is a nonprofit, nonpolitical travel industry organization whose membership includes experienced tour operators, destination tourist offices, hotels, airlines, and other travel industry professionals. Collectively, ATS members generate over four billion dollars in sales involving three million North American travelers. ATS holds an Annual Fall Conference and a Tourism College hosted by a different member destination each year; travel marts and seminars in the US for its members; and has a website: www.AmericanTourismSociety.org .
For more information about ATS, conference registration, the day-to-day itinerary, and a conference agenda preview, visit www.AmericanTourismSociety.org .